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Chapter 1 
Chapter 2 
Chapter 3 
Chapter 4 
Chapter 5 
Chapter 6 
Chapter 7 
Chapter 8 

The Shadow Out of Time 
by H.P. Lovecraft 



First published in Astonishing Stories, 1936 



Chapter 1 2 

Chapter 1 

After twenty-two years of nightmare and terror, saved only by a desperate 
conviction of the mythical source of certain impressions, I am unwilling to 
vouch for the truth of that which I think I found in Western Australia on the 
night of 17-18 July 1935. There is reason to hope that my experience was 
wholly or partly an hallucination-for which, indeed, abundant causes 
existed. And yet, its realism was so hideous that I sometimes find hope 
impossible. 

If the thing did happen, then man must be prepared to accept notions of the 
cosmos, and of his own place in the seething vortex of time, whose merest 
mention is paralysing. He must, too, be placed on guard against a specific, 
lurking peril which, though it will never engulf the whole race, may impose 
monstrous and unguessable horrors upon certain venturesome members of 
it. 

It is for this latter reason that I urge, with all the force of my being, final 
abandonment of all the attempts at unearthing those fragments of unknown, 
primordial masonry which my expedition set out to investigate. 

Assuming that I was sane and awake, my experience on that night was such 
as has befallen no man before. It was, moreover, a frightful confirmation of 
all I had sought to dismiss as myth and dream. Mercifully there is no proof, 
for in my fright I lost the awesome object which would-if real and brought 
out of that noxious abyss— have formed irrefutable evidence. 

When I came upon the horror I was alone-and I have up to now told no one 
about it. I could not stop the others from digging in its direction, but chance 
and the shifting sand have so far saved them from finding it. Now I must 
formulate some definite statement-not only for the sake of my own mental 
balance, but to warn such others as may read it seriously. 

These pages— much in whose earlier parts will be familiar to close readers 
of the general and scientific press-are written in the cabin of the ship that 
is bringing me home. I shall give them to my son. Professor Wingate 



Chapter 1 3 

Peaslee of Miskatonic University— the only member of my family who 
stuck to me after my queer amnesia of long ago, and the man best informed 
on the inner facts of my case. Of all living persons, he is least likely to 
ridicule what I shall tell of that fateful night. 

I did not enlighten him orally before sailing, because I think he had better 
have the revelation in written form. Reading and re-reading at leisure will 
leave with him a more convincing picture than my confused tongue could 
hope to convey. 

He can do anything that he thinks best with this account- showing it, with 
suitable comment, in any quarters where it will be likely to accomplish 
good. It is for the sake of such readers as are unfamiliar with the earlier 
phases of my case that I am prefacing the revelation itself with a fairly 
ample summary of its background. 

My name is Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee, and those who recall the 
newspaper tales of a generation back— or the letters and articles in 
psychological journals six or seven years ago— will know who and what I 
am. The press was filled with the details of my strange amnesia in 1908-13, 
and much was made of the traditions of horror, madness, and witchcraft 
which lurked behind the ancient Massachusetts town then and now forming 
my place of residence. Yet I would have it known that there is nothing 
whatever of the mad or sinister in my heredity and early life. This is a 
highly important fact in view of the shadow which fell so suddenly upon 
me from outside sources. 

It may be that centuries of dark brooding had given to crumbling, 
whisper-haunted Arkham a peculiar vulnerability as regards such 
shadows-though even this seems doubtful in the light of those other cases 
which I later came to study. But the chief point is that my own ancestry and 
background are altogether normal. What came, came from somewhere 
else— where I even now hesitate to assert in plain words. 

I am the son of Jonathan and Hannah (Wingate) Peaslee, both of 
wholesome old Haverhill stock. I was bom and reared in Haverhill-at the 



Chapter 1 4 

old homestead in Boardman Street near Golden Hill— and did not go to 
Arkham till I entered Miskatonic University as instructor of political 
economy in 1895. 

For thirteen years more my life ran smoothly and happily. I married Alice 
Keezar of Haverhill in 1896, and my three children, Robert, Wingate and 
Hannah were born in 1898, 1900, and 1903, respectively. In 1898 I became 
an associate professor, and in 1902 a full professor. At no time had I the 
least interest in either occultism or abnormal psychology. 

It was on Thursday, 14 May 1908, that the queer amnesia came. The thing 
was quite sudden, though later I realized that certain brief, glimmering 
visions of several, hours previous— chaotic visions which disturbed me 
greatly because they were so unprecedented— must have formed 
premonitory symptoms. My head was aching, and I had a singular 
feeling— altogether new to me— that some one else was trying to get 
possession of my thoughts. 

The collapse occurred about 10.20 A.M., while I was conducting a class in 
Political Economy VI— history and present tendencies of economics— for 
juniors and a few sophomores. I began to see strange shapes before my 
eyes, and to feel that I was in a grotesque room other than the classroom. 

My thoughts and speech wandered from my subject, and the students saw 
that something was gravely amiss. Then I slumped down, unconscious, in 
my chair, in a stupor from which no one could arouse me. Nor did my 
rightful faculties again look out upon the daylight of our normal world for 
five years, four months, and thirteen days. 

It is, of course, from others that I have learned what followed. I showed no 
sign of consciousness for sixteen and a half hours though removed to my 
home at 27 Crane Street, and given the best of medical attention. 

At 3 A.M. May my eyes opened and began to speak and my family were 
thoroughly frightened by the trend of my expression and language. It was 
clear that I had no remembrance of my identity and my past, though for 



Chapter 1 5 

some reason seemed anxious to conceal his lack of knowledge. My eyes 
glazed strangely at the persons around me, and the flections of my facial 
muscles were altogether unfamiliar. 

Even my speech seemed awkward and foreign. I used my vocal organs 
clumsily and gropingly, and my diction had a curiously stilted quality, as if 
I had laboriously learned the English language from books. The 
pronunciation was barbarously alien, whilst the idiom seemed to include 
both scraps of curious archaism and expressions of a wholly 
incomprehensible cast. 

Of the latter, one in particular was very potently— even terrifiedly— recalled 
by the youngest of the physicians twenty years afterward. For at that late 
period such a phrase began to have an actual currency-first in England and 
then in the United States-and though of much complexity and indisputable 
newness, it reproduced in every least particular the mystifying words of the 
strange Arkham patient of 1908. 

Physical strength returned at once, although I required an odd amount of 
re-education in the use of my hands, legs, and bodily apparatus in general. 
Because of this and other handicaps inherent in the mnemonic lapse, I was 
for some time kept under strict medical care. 

When I saw that my attempts to conceal the lapse had failed, I admitted it 
openly, and became eager for information of all sorts. Indeed, it seemed to 
the doctors that I lost interest in my proper personality as soon as I found 
the case of amnesia accepted as a natural thing. 

They noticed that my chief efforts were to master certain points in history, 
science, art, language, and folklore— some of them tremendously abstruse, 
and some childishly simple— which remained, very oddly in many cases, 
outside my consciousness. 

At the same time they noticed that I had an inexplicable command of many 
almost unknown sorts of knowledge-a command which I seemed to wish 
to hide rather than display. I would inadvertently refer, with casual 



Chapter 1 6 

assurance, to specific events in dim ages outside of the range of accepted 
history— passing off such references as a jest when I saw the surprise they 
created. And I had a way of speaking of the future which two or three times 
caused actual fright. 

These uncanny flashes soon ceased to appear, though some observers laid 
their vanishment more to a certain furtive caution on my part than to any 
waning of the strange knowledge behind them. Indeed, I seemed 
anomalously avid to absorb the speech, customs, and perspectives of the 
age around me; as if I were a studious traveller from a far, foreign land. 

As soon as permitted, I haunted the college library at all hours; and shortly 
began to arrange for those odd travels, and special courses at American and 
European Universities, which evoked so much comment during the next 
few years. 

I did not at any time suffer from a lack of learned contacts, for my case had 
a mild celebrity among the psychologists of the period. I was lectured upon 
as a typical example of secondary personality— even though I seemed to 
puzzle the lecturers now and then with some bizarre symptoms or some 
queer trace of carefully veiled mockery. 

Of real friendliness, however, I encountered little. Something in my aspect 
and speech seemed to excite vague fears and aversions in every one I met, 
as if I were a being infinitely removed from all that is normal and healthful. 
This idea of a black, hidden horror connected with incalculable gulfs of 
some sort of distance was oddly widespread and persistent. 

My own family formed no exception. From the moment of my strange 
waking my wife had regarded me with extreme horror and loathing, vowing 
that I was some utter alien usurping the body of her husband. In 1910 she 
obtained a legal divorce, nor would she ever consent to see me even after 
my return to normality in 1913. These feelings were shared by my elder son 
and my small daughter, neither of whom I have ever seen since. 



Chapter 1 7 

Only my second son, Wingate, seemed able to conquer the terror and 
repulsion which my change aroused. He indeed felt that I was a stranger, 
but though only eight years old held fast to a faith that my proper self 
would return. When it did return he sought me out, and the courts gave me 
his custody. In succeeding years he helped me with the studies to which I 
was driven, and today, at thirty-five, he is a professor of psychology at 
Miskatonic. 

But I do not wonder at the horror caused-for certainly, the mind, voice, 
and facial expression of the being that awakened on 15 May 1908, were not 
those of Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee. 

I will not attempt to tell much of my life from 1908 to 1913, since readers 
may glean the outward essentials-as I largely had to do-from files of old 
newspapers and scientific journals. 

I was given charge of my funds, and spent them slowly and on the whole 
wisely, in travel and in study at various centres of learning. My travels, 
however, were singular in the extreme, involving long visits to remote and 
desolate places. 

In 1909 I spent a month in the Himalayas, and in 1911 roused much 
attention through a camel trip into the unknown deserts of Arabia. What 
happened on those journeys I have never been able to learn. 

During the summer of 1912 I chartered a ship and sailed in the Arctic, north 
of Spitzbergen, afterward showing signs of disappointment. 

Later in that year I spent weeks— alone beyond the limits of previous or 
subsequent exploration in the vast limestone cavern systems of western 
Virginia— black labyrinths so complex that no retracing of my steps could 
even be considered. 

My sojourns at the universities were marked by abnormally rapid 
assimilation, as if the secondary personality had an intelligence enormously 
superior to my own. I have found, also, that my rate of reading and solitary 



Chapter 1 8 

Study was phenomenal. I could master every detail of a book merely by 
glancing over it as fast as I could turn the leaves; while my skill at 
interpreting complex figures in an instant was veritably awesome. 

At times there appeared almost ugly reports of my power to influence the 
thoughts and acts of others, though I seemed to have taken care to minimize 
displays of this faculty. 

Other ugly reports concerned my intimacy with leaders of occultist groups, 
and scholars suspected of connection with nameless bands of abhorrent 
elder-world hierophants. These rumours, though never proved at the time, 
were doubtless stimulated by the known tenor of some of my reading— for 
the consultation of rare books at libraries cannot be effected secretly. 

There is tangible proof— in the form of marginal notes— that I went minutely 
through such things as the Comte d'Erlette's Cultes des Goules, Ludvig 
Prinn's De Vermis Mysteriis, the Unaussprechlichen Kulten of von Junzt, 
the surviving fragments of the puzzling Book of Eibon, and the dreaded 
Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. Then, too, it is undeniable 
that a fresh and evil wave of underground cult activity set in about the time 
of my odd mutation. 

In the summer of 1913 I began to display signs of ennui and flagging 
interest, and to hint to various associates that a change might soon be 
expected in me. I spoke of returning memories of my earlier life— though 
most auditors judged me insincere, since all the recollections I gave were 
casual, and such as might have been learned from my old private papers. 

About the middle of August I returned to Arkham and re- opened my 
long-closed house in Crane Street. Here I installed a mechanism of the most 
curious aspect, constructed piecemeal by different makers of scientific 
apparatus in Europe and America, and guarded carefully from the sight of 
any one intelligent enough to analyse it. 

Those who did see it— a workman, a servant, and the new housekeeper— say 
that it was a queer mixture of rods, wheels, and mirros, though only about 



Chapter 1 9 

two feet tall, one foot wide, and one foot thick. The central mirror was 
circular and convex. All this is borne out by such makers of parts as can be 
located. 

On the evening of Friday, 26 September, I dismissed the housekeeper and 
the maid until noon of the next day. Lights burned in the house till late, and 
a lean, dark, curiously foreign-looking man called in an automobile. 

It was about one A.M. that the lights were last seen. At 2.15 A.M. a 
policeman observed the place in darkness, but the stranger's motor still at 
the curb. By 4 o'clock the motor was certainly gone. 

It was at 6 o'clock that a hesitant, foreign voice on the telephone asked Dr 
Wilson to call at my house and bring me out of a peculiar faint. This call-a 
long-distance one-was later traced to a public booth in the North Station in 
Boston, but no sign of the lean foreigner was ever unearthed. 

When the doctor reached my house he found me unconscious in the sitting 
room-in an easy-chair with a table drawn up before it. On the polished top 
were scratches showing where some heavy object had rested. The queer 
machine was gone, nor was anything afterward heard of it. Undoubtedly the 
dark, lean foreigner had taken it away. 

In the library grate were abundant ashes, evidently left from the burning of 
the every remainmg scrap of paper on which I had written since the advent 
of the amnesia. Dr Wilson found my breathing very peculiar, but after a 
hypodermic injection it became more regular. 

At 11.15 A.M., 27 September, I stirred vigorously, and my hitherto 
masklike face began to show signs of expression. Dr Wilson remarked that 
the expression was not that of my secondary personality, but seemed much 
like that of my normal self. About 1 1.30 I muttered some very curious 
syllables-syllables which seemed unrelated to any human speech. I 
appeared, too, to struggle against something. Then, just afternoon— the 
housekeeper and the maid having meanwhile returned— I began to mutter in 
English. 



Chapten 10 

"-of the orthodox economists of that period, Jevons typifies the prevaihng 
trend toward scientific correlation. His attempt to hnk the commercial cycle 
of prosperity and depression with the physical cycle of the solar spots 
forms perhaps the apex of—" 

Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee had come back— a spirit in whose time scale it 
was still Thursday morning in 1908, with the economics class gazing up at 
the battered desk on the platform. 



Chapter 2 1 1 

Chapter 2 

My reabsorption into normal life was a painful and difficult process. The 
loss of over five years creates more complications than can be imagined, 
and in my case there were countless matters to be adjusted. 

What I heard of my actions since 1908 astonished and disturbed me, but I 
tried to view the matter as philosophically as I could. At last, regaining 
custody of my second son, Wingate, I settled down with him in the Crane 
Street house and endeavoured to resume my teaching— my old professorship 
having been kindly offered me by the college. 

I began work with the February, 1914, term, and kept at it just a year. By 
that time I realized how badly my experience had shaken me. Though 
perfectly sane-I hoped-and with no flaw in my original personality, I had 
not the nervous energy of the old days. Vague dreams and queer ideas 
continually haunted me, and when the outbreak of the World War turned 
my mind to history I found myself thinking of periods and events in the 
oddest possible fashion. 

My conception of time, my ability to distinguish between consecutiveness 
and simultaneousness-seemed subtly disordered so that I formed 
chimerical notions about living in one age and casting one's mind all over 
etenity for knowledge of past and future ages. 

The war gave me strange impressions of remembering some of its far-off 
consequences-as if I knew how it was coming out and could look back 
upon it in the light of future information. All such quasi-memories were 
attended with much pain, and with a feeling that some artificial 
psychological barrier was set a against them. 

When I diffidently hinted to others about my impressions I met with varied 
responses. Some persons looked uncomfortably at me, but men in the 
mathematics department spoke of new developments in those theories of 
relativity— then discussed only in learned circles— which were later to 
become so famous. Dr. Albert Einstein, they said, was rapidly reducing 



Chapter 2 12 

time to the status of a mere dimension. 

But the dreams and disturbed feelings gained on me, so that I had to drop 
my regular work in 1915. Certainly the impressions were taking an 
annoying shape-giving me the persistent notion that my amnesia had 
formed some unholy sort of exchange; that the secondary personality had 
indeed had suffered displacement, been an in- 

Thus I was driven to vague and fright speculations concerning the 
whereabouts of my true self during the years that another had held my 
body. The curious knowledge and strange conduct of my body's late tenant 
troubled me more and more as I learned further details from persons, 
papers, and magazines. 

Queemesses that had baffled others seemed to harmonize terribly with 
some background of black knowledge which festered in the chasms of my 
subconscious. I began to search feverishly for every scrap of information 
bearing on the studies and travels of that other one during the dark years. 

Not all of my troubles were as semi-abstract as this. There were the 
dreams-and these seemed to grow in vividness and concreteness. Knowing 
how most would regard them, I seldom mentioned them to anyone but my 
son or certain trusted psychologists, but eventually I commenced a 
scientific study of other cases in order to see how typical or nontypical such 
visions might be among amnesia victims. 

My results, aided by psychologists, historians, anthropologists, and mental 
specialists of wide experience, and by a study that included all records of 
split personalities from the days of daemonic-possession legends to the 
medically realistic present, at first bothered me more than they consoled 
me. 

I soon found that my dreams had, indeed, no counterpart in the 
overwhelming bulk of true amnesia cases. There remained, however, a tiny 
residue of accounts which for years baffled and shocked me with their 
parallelism to my own experience. Some of them were bits of ancient 



Chapter 2 13 

folklore; others were case histories in the annals of medicine; one or two 
were anecdotes obscurely buried in standard histories. 

It thus appeared that, while my special kind of affliction was prodigiously 
rare, instances of it had occurred at long intervals ever since the beginnig of 
men's annals. Some centuries might contain one, two, or three cases, others 
none— or at least none whose record survived. 

The essence was always the same— a person of keen thoughtfulness seized a 
strange secondary life and leading for a greater or lesser period an utterly 
alien existence typified at first by vocal and bodily awkwardness, an later 
by a wholesale acquisition of scientific, historic, artistic, and anthropologic 
knowledge; an acquisition carried on with feverish zest and with a wholly 
abnormal absorptive power. Then a sudden return of rightful consciousness, 
intermittently plagued ever after with vague unplaceable dreams suggesting 
fragments of some hideous memory elaborately blotted out. 

And the close resemblance of those nightmares to my own— even in some 
of the smallest particulars— left no doubt in my mind of their significantly 
typical nature. One or two of the cases had an added ring of faint, 
blasphemous familiarity, as if I had heard of them before through some 
cosmic channel too morbid and frightful to contemplate. In three instances 
there was specific mention of such an unknown machine as had been in my 
house before the second change. 

Another thing that worried me during my investigation was the somewhat 
greater frequency of cases where a brief, elusive glimpse of the typical 
nightmares was afforded to persons not visited well-defined amnesia. 

These persons were largely of mediocre mind or less— some so primitive 
that they could scarcely be thought of as vehicles for abnormal scholarship 
and preternatural mental acquisitions. For a second they would be fired 
with alien force-then a backward lapse, and a thin, swift-fading memory of 
unhuman horrors. 



Chapter 2 14 

There had been at least three such cases during the past half century-one 
only fifteen years before. Had something been groping blindly through time 
from some unsuspected abyss in Nature? Were these faint cases monstrous, 
sinister experiments of a kind and authorship uttely beyond same belief? 

Such were a few of the forless speculations of my weaker hours— fancies 
abetted by myths which my studies uncovered. For I could not doubt but 
that certain persistent legends of immemorial antiquity, apparently 
unknown to the victims and physicians connected with recent amnesia 
cases, formed a striking and awesome elaboration of memory lapses such 
as mine. 

Of the nature of the dreams and impressions which were growing so 
clamorous I still almost fear to speak. They seemed to savor of madness, 
and at times I believed I was indeed going mad. Was there a special type of 
delusion afflicting those who had suffered lapses of memory? Conceivably, 
the efforts of the subconscious mind to fill up a perplexing blank with 
pseudo-memories might give rise to strange imaginative vagaries. 

This indeed— though an alternative folklore theory finally seemed to me 
more plausible— was the belief of many of the alienists who helped me in 
my search for parallel cases, and who shared my puzzlement at the exact 
resemblances sometimes discovered. 

They did not call the condition true insanity, but classed it rather among 
neurotic disorders. My course in trying to track down and analyze it, 
instead of vaintly seeking to dismiss or forget it, they heartily endorsed as 
correct according to the best psychological principles. I especially valued 
the advice of such physicians as had studied me during my possession by 
the other personality. 

My first disturbances were not visual at all, but concerned the more abstract 
matters which I have mentioned. There was, too, a feeling of profound and 
inexplicable horror concerning myself. I developed a queer fear of seeing 
my own form, as if my eyes would find it something utterly alien and 
inconceivably abhorrent. 



Chapter 2 15 

When I did glance down and behold the familiar human shape in quiet grey 
or blue clothing, I always felt a curious relief, though in order to gain this 
relief I had to conquer an infinite dread. I shunned mirrors as much as 
possible, and was always shaved at the barber's. 

It was a long time before I correlated any of these disappointed feelings 
with the fleeting, visual impressions which began to develop. The first such 
correlation had to do with the odd sensation of an external, artificial 
restraint on my memory. 

I felt that the snatches of sight I experienced had a profound and terrible 
meaning, and a frightful connexion with myself, but that some purposeful 
influence held me from grasping that meaning and that connexion. Then 
came that queerness about the element of time, and with it desperate efforts 
to place the fragmentary dream-glimpses in the chronological and spatial 
pattern. 

The glimpses themselves were at first merely strange rather than horrible. I 
would seem to be in an enormous vaulted chamber whose lofty stone 
aroinings were well-nigh lost in the shadows overhead. In whatever time or 
place the scene might be, the principle of the arch was known as fully and 
used as extensively as by the Romans. 

There were colossal, round windows and high, arched doors, and pedestals 
or tables each as tall as the height of an ordinary room. Vast shelves of dark 
wood lined the walls, holding what seemed to be volumes of immense size 
with strange hieroglyphs on their backs. 

The exposed stonework held curious carvings, always in curvilinear 
mathematical designs, and there were chiselled inscriptions in the same 
characters that the huge books bore. The dark granite masonry was of a 
monstrous megathic type, with lines of convex-topped blocks fitting the 
concave-bottomed courses which rested upon them. 

There were no chairs, but the tops of the vast pedestals were littered with 
books, papers, and what seemed to be writing materials— oddly figured jars 



Chapter 2 16 

of a purplish metal, and rods with stained tips. Tall as the pedestals were, I 
seemed at times able to view them from above. On some of them were 
great globes of luminous crystal serving as lamps, and inexplicable 
machines formed of vitreous tubes and metal rods. 

The windows were glazed, and latticed with stout-looking bars. Though I 
dared not approach and peer out them, I could see from where I was the 
waving tops of singular fern-like growths. The floor was of massive 
octagonal flagstones, while rugs and hangings were entirely lacking. 

Later I had visions of sweeping through Cyclopean corridors of stone, and 
up and down gigantic inclined planes of the same monstrous masonry. 
There were no stairs anywhere, nor was any passageway less than thirty 
feet wide. Some of the structures through which I floated must have 
towered in the sky for thousands of feet. 

There were multiple levels of black vaults below, and never-opened 
trapdoors, sealed down with metal bands and holding dim suggestions of 
some special peril. 

I seemed to be a prisoner, and horror hung broodingly over everything I 
saw. I felt that the mocking curvilinear hieroglyphs on the walls would 
blast my soul with their message were I not guarded by a merciful 
ignorance. 

Still later my dreams included vistas from the great round windows, and 
from the titanic flat roof, with its curious gardens, wide barren area, and 
high, scalloped parapet of stone, to which the topmost of the inclined 
planes led. 

There were, almost endless leagues of giant buildings, each in its garden, 
and ranged along paved roads fully 200 feet wide. They differed greatly in 
aspect, but few were less than 500 feet square or a thousand feet high. 
Many seemed so limitless that they must have had a frontage of several 
thousand feet, while some shot up to mountainous altitudes in the grey, 
steamy heavens. 



Chapter 2 17 

They seemed to be mainly of stone or concrete, and most of them embodied 
the oddly curvilinear type of masonry noticeable in the building that held 
me. Roofs were flat and garden-covered, and tended to have scalloped 
parapets. Sometimes there were terraces and higher levels, and wide, 
cleared spaces amidst the gardens. The great roads held hints of motion, but 
in the earlier visions I could not resolve this impression into details. 

In certain places I beheld enormous dark cylindrical towers which climbed 
far above any of the other structures. These appeared to be of a totally 
unique nature and shewed signs of prodigious age and dilapidation. They 
were built of a bizarre type of square-cut basalt masonry, and tapered 
slightly toward their rounded tops. Nowhere in any of them could the least 
traces of windows or other apertures save huge doors be found. I noticed 
also some lower buildinigs— all crumbling with the weathering of 
aeons— which resembled these dark, cylindrical towers in basic architecture. 
Around all these aberrant piles of square-cut masonry there hovered an 
inexplicable aura of menace and concentrated fear, like that bred by the 
sealed trap-doors. 

The omnipresent gardens were almost terrifying in their strangeness, with 
bizarre and unfamiliar forms of vegetation nodding over broad paths lined 
with curiously carven monoliths. Abnormally vast fern-like growths 
predominated- some green, and some of a ghastly, fungoid pallor. 

Among them rose great spectral things resembling catamites, whose 
bamboo-like trunks towered to fabulous heights. Then there were tufted 
forms like fabulous cycads, and grotesque dark-green shrubs and trees of 
coniferous aspect. 

Flowers were small, colourless, and unrecognizable, blooming in 
geometrical beds and at large among the greenery. 

In a few of the terrace and roof-top gardens were larger and more blossoms 
of most offensive contours and seeming to suggest artificial breeding. 
Fungi of inconceivable size, outlines, and colours speckled the scene in 
patterns bespeaking some unknown but well-established horticultural 



Chapter 2 18 

tradition. In the larger gardens on the ground there seemed to be some 
attempt to preserve the irregularities of Nature, but on the roofs there was 
more selectiveness, and more evidences of the topiary art. 

The sides were almost always moist and cloudy, and sometimes I would 
seem to witness tremendous rains. Once in a while, though, there would be 
glimpses of the sun- which looked abnormally large-and of the moon, 
whose markings held a touch of difference from the normal that I could 
never quite fathom. When— very rarely— the night sky was clear to any 
extent, I beheld constellations which were nearly beyond recognition. 
Known outlines were sometimes approximated, but seldom duplicated; and 
from the position of the few groups I could recognize, I felt I must be in the 
earth's southern hemisphere, near the Tropic of Capricorn. 

The far horizon was always steamy and indistinct, but I could see that great 
jungles of unknown tree-ferns, catamites, lepidodendra, and sigillaria lay 
outside the city, their fantastic frondage waving mockingly in the shifting 
vapours. Now and then there would be suggestions of motion in the sky, 
but these my early visions never resolved. 

By the autumn of 1914 I began to have infrequent dreams of strange 
floatings over the city and through the regions around it. I saw interminable 
roads through forests of fearsome growths with mottled, fluted, and banded 
trunks, and past other cities as strange as the one which persistently haunted 
me. 

I saw monstrous constructions of black or iridescent tone in glades and 
clearings where perpetual twilight reigned, and traversed long causeways 
over swamps so dark that I could tell but little of their moist, towering 
vegetation. 

Once I saw an area of countless miles strewn with age-blasted basaltic ruins 
whose architecture had been like that of the few windowless, round-topped 
towers in the haunting city. 



Chapter 2 19 

And once I saw the sea-a boundless, steamy expanse beyond the colossal 
stone piers of an enormous town of domes and arches. Great shapeless 
sugggestions of shadow moved over it, and here and there its surface was 
vexed ith anomalous spouting s. 



Chapter 3 20 

Chapter 3 

As I have said, it was not immediately that these wild visions began to hold 
their terrifying quality. Certainly, many persons have dreamed intrinsically 
stranger things-things compounded of unrelated scraps of daily life, 
pictures,and reading, and arranged in fantastically novel forms by the 
unchecked caprices of sleep. 

For some time I accepted the visions as natural, even though I had never 
before been an extravagant dreamer. Many of the vague anomalies, I 
argued, must have come from trivial sources too numerous to track down; 
while others seemed to reflect a common text book knowledge of the plants 
and other conditions of the primitive world of a hundred and fifty million 
years ago— the world of the Permian or Triassic age. 

In the course of some months, however, the element of terror did figure 
with accumulating force. This was when the dreams began so unfailingly to 
have the aspect of memories, and when my mind began to link them with 
my growing abstract disturbances— the feeling of mnemonic restraint, the 
curious impressions regarding time, and sense of a loathsome exchange 
with my secondary personality of 1908-13, and, considerably later, the 
inexplicable loathing of my own person. 

As certain definite details began to enter the dreams, their horror increased 
a thousandfold-until by October, 1915, 1 felt I must do something. It was 
then that I began an intensive study of other cases of amnesia and visions, 
feeling that I might thereby obectivise my trouble and shake clear of its 
emotional grip. 

However, as before mentioned, the result was at first almost exactly 
opposite. It disturbed me vastly to find that my dreams had been so closely 
duplicated; especially since some of the accounts were too early to admit of 
any geological knowledge— and therefore of any idea of primitive 
landscapes— on the subjects' part. 



Chapter 3 21 

What is more, many of these accounts supphed very horrible details and 
explanations in connexion with the visions of great buildings and jungle 
gardens-and other things. The actual sights and vague impressions were 
bad enough, but what was hinted or asserted by some of the other dreamers 
savored of madness and blasphemy. Worst of all, my own pseudo-memory 
was aroused to milder dreams and hints of coming revelations. And yet 
most doctors deemed my course, on the whole, an advisable one. 

I studied psychology systematically, and under the prevailing stimulus my 
son Wingate did the same— his studies leading eventually to his present 
professorship. In 1917 and 19181 took special courses at Miskatonic. 
Meanwhile, my examination of medical, historical, and anthropological 
records became indefatigable, involving travels to distant libraries, and 
finally including even a reading of the hideous books of forbidden elder 
lore in which my secondary personality had been so disturbingly interested. 

Some of the latter were the actual copies I had consulted in my altered 
state, and I was greatly disturbed by certain marginal notations and 
ostensible corrections of the hideous text in a script and idiom which 
somehow seemed oddly unhuman. 

These markings were mostly in the respective languages of the various 
books, all of which the writer seemed to know with equal, though 
obviously academic, facility. One note appended to von Junzt's 
Unaussprechlichen Kulten, however, was alarmingly otherwise. It consisted 
of certain curvilinear hieroglyphs in the same ink as that of the German 
corrections, but following no recognized human pattern. And these 
hieroglyphs were closely and unmistakably alien to the characters 
constantly met with in my dreams— characters whose meaning I would 
sometimes momentarily fancy I knew, or was just on the brink of recalling. 

To complete my black confusion, my librarians assured me that, in view of 
previous examinations and records of consultation of the volumes in 
question, all of these notations must have been made by myself in my 
secondary state. This despite the fact that I was and still am ignorant of 
three of the languages involved. 



Chapter 3 22 

Piecing together the scattered records, ancient and modem, anthropological 
and medical, I found a fairly consistent mixture of myth and hallucination 
whose scope and wildness left me utterly dazed. Only one thing consoled 
me, the fact that the myths were of such early existence. What lost 
knowledge could have brought pictures of the Palaeozoic or Mesozoic 
landscape into these primitive fables, I could not even guess; but the 
pictures had been there. Thus, a basis existed for the formation of a fixed 
type of delusion. 

Cases of amnesia no doubt created the general myth pattern-but afterward 
the fanciful accretions of the myths must have reacted on amnesia sufferers 
and coloured their pseudo-memories. I myself had read and heard all the 
early tales during my memory lapse— my quest had amply proved that. Was 
it not natural, then, for my subsequent dreams and emotional impressions to 
become coloured and moulded by what my memory subtly held over from 
my secondary state? 

A few of the myths had significant connexions with other cloudy legends of 
the pre-human world, especially those Hindu tales involving stupefying 
gulfs of time and forming part of the lore of modem theosopists. 

Primal myth and modem delusion joined in their assumption that mankind 
is only one-perhaps the least-of the highly evolved and dominant races of 
this planet's long and largely unknown career. Things of inconceivable 
shape, they implied, had reared towers to the sky and delved into every 
secret of Nature before the first amphibian forbear of man had crawled out 
of the hot sea 300 million years ago. 

Some had come down from the stars; a few were as old as the cosmos 
itself, others had arisen swiftly from terrene germs as far behind the first 
germs of our life-cycle as those germs are behind ourselves. Spans of 
thousands of millions of years, and linkages to other galaxies and universes, 
were freely spoken of. Indeed, there was no such thing as time in its 
humanly accepted sense. 



Chapter 3 23 

But most of the tales and impressions concerned a relatively late race, of a 
queer and intricate shape, resembling no life-form known to science, which 
had lived till only fifty million years before the advent of man. This, they 
indicated, was the greatest race of all because it alone had conquered the 
secret of time. 

It had learned all things that ever were known or ever would be known on 
the earth, through the power of its keener minds to project themselves into 
the past and future, even through gulfs of millions of years, and study the 
lore of every age. From the accomplishments of this race arose all legends 
of prophets, including those in human mythology. 

In its vast libraries were volumes of texts and pictures holding the whole of 
earth's annals-histories and descriptions of every species that had ever been 
or that ever would be, with full records of their arts, their achievements, 
their languages, and their psychologies. 

With this aeon- embracing knowledge, the Great Race chose from every era 
and life-form such thoughts, arts, and processes as might suit its own nature 
and situation. Knowledge of the past, secured through a kind of 
mind-casting outside the recognized senses, was harder to glean than 
knowledge of the future. 

In the latter case the course was easier and more material. With suitable 
mechanical aid a mind would project itself forward in time, feeling its dim, 
extra-sensory way till it approached the desired period. Then, after 
preliminary trials, it would seize on the best discoverable representative of 
the highest of that period's life-forms. It would enter the organism's brain 
and set up therein its own vibrations, while the displaced mind would strike 
back to the period of the displacer, remaining in the latter's body till a 
reverse process was set up. 

The projected mind, in the body of the organism of the future, would then 
pose as a member of the race whose outward form it wore, learning as 
quickly as possible all that could be learned of the chosen age and its 
massed information and techniques. 



Chapter 3 24 

Meanwhile the displaced mind, thrown back to the displacer's age and 
body, would be carefully guarded. It would be kept from harming the body 
it occupied, and would be drained of all its knowledge by trained 
questioners. Often it could be questioned in its own language, when 
previous quests into the future had brought back records of that language. 

If the mind came from a body whose language the Great Race could not 
physically reproduce, clever machines would be made, on which the alien 
speech could be played as on a musical instrument. 

The Great Race's members were immense rugose cones ten feet high, and 
with head and other organs attached to foot-thick, distensible limbs 
spreading from the apexes. They spoke by the clicking or scraping of huge 
paws or claws attached to the end of two of their four limbs, and walked by 
the expansion and contraction of a viscous layer attached to their vast, 
ten-foot bases. 

When the captive mind's amazement and resentment had worn off, and 
when— assuming that it came from a body vastly different from the Great 
Race's— it had lost its horror at its unfamiliar temporary form, it was 
permitted to study its new environment and experience a wonder and 
wisdom approximating that of its displacer. 

With suitable precautions, and in exchange for suitable services, it was 
allowed to rove all over the habitable world in titan airships or on the huge 
boatlike atomic- engined vehicles which traversed the great roads, and to 
delve freely into the libraries containing the records of the planet's past and 
future. 

This reconciled many captive minds to their lot; since none were other than 
keen, and to such minds the unveiling of hidden mysteries of earth-closed 
chapters of inconceivable pasts and dizzying vortices of future time which 
include the years ahead of their own natural ages-forms always, despite the 
abysmal horrors often unveiled, the supreme experience of life. 



Chapter 3 25 

Now and then certain captives were permitted to meet other captive minds 
seized from the future— to exchange thoughts with consciousnesses living a 
hundred or a thousand or a miUion years before or after their own ages. 
And all were urged to write copiously in their own languages of themselves 
and their respective periods; such documents to be filed in the great central 
archives. 

It may be added that there was one special type of captive whose privileges 
were far greater than those of the majority. These were the dying permanent 
exiles, whose bodies in the future had been seized by keen-minded 
members of the Great Race who, faced with death, sought to escape mental 
extinction. 

Such melancholy exiles were not as common as might be expected, since 
the longevity of the Great Race lessened its love of life-especially among 
those superior minds capable of projection. From cases of the permanent 
projection of elder minds arose many of those lasting changes of 
personality noticed in later history-including mankind's. 

As for the ordinary cases of exploration-when the displacing mind had 
learned what it wished in the future, it would build an apparatus like that 
which had started its flight and reverse the process of projection. Once 
more it would be in its own body in its own age, while the lately captive 
mind would return to that body of the future to which it properly belonged. 

Only when one or the other of the bodies had died during the exchange was 
this restoration impossible. In such cases, of course, the exploring mind 
had-like those of the death-escapers-to live out an alien-bodied life in the 
future; or else the captive mind— like the dying permanent exiles— had to 
end its days in the form and past age of the Great Race. 

This fate was least horrible when the captive mind was also of the Great 
Race— a not infrequent occurrence, since in all its periods that race was 
intensely concerned with its own future. The number of dying permanent 
exiles of the Great Race was very slight— largely because of the tremendous 
penalties attached to displacements of future Great Race minds by the 



Chapter 3 26 

moribund. 

Through projection, arrangements were made to inflict these penahies on 
the offending minds in their new future bodies-and sometimes forced 
re-exchanges were effected. 

Complex cases of the displacement of exploring or already captive minds 
by minds in various regions of the past had been known and carefully 
rectified. In every age since the discovery of mind projection, a minute but 
well-recognised element of the population consisted of Great Race minds 
from past ages, sojourning for a longer or shorter while. 

When a captive mind of alien origin was returned to its own body in the 
future, it was purged by an intricate mechanical hypnosis of all it had 
learned in the Great Race's age— this because of certain troublesome 
consequences inherent in the general carrying forward of knowledge in 
large quantities. 

The few existing instances of clear transmission had caused, and would 
cause at known future times, great disasters. And it was largely in 
consequence of two cases of this kind-said the old myths-that mankind 
had learned what it had concerning the Great Race. 

Of all things surviving physically and directly from that aeon-distant world, 
there remained only certain ruins of great stones in far places and under the 
sea, and parts of the text of the frightful Pnakotic Manuscripts. 

Thus the returning mind reached its own age with only the faintest and 
most fragmentary visions of what it had undergone since its seizure. All 
memories that could be eradicated were eradicated, so that in most cases 
only a dream- shadowed blank stretched back to the time of the first 
exchange. Some minds recalled more than others, and the chance joining of 
memories had at rare times brought hints of the forbidden past to future 
ages. 



Chapter 3 27 

There probably never was a time when groups or cuhs did not secretly 
cherish certain of these hints. In the Necronomicon the presence of such a 
cult among human beings was suggested— a cult that sometimes gave aid to 
minds voyaging down the aeons from the days of the Great Race. 

And, meanwhile, the Great Race itself waxed well-nigh omniscient, and 
turned to the task of setting up exchanges with the minds of other planets, 
and of exploring their pasts and futures. It sought likewise to fathom the 
past years and origin of that black, aeon-dead orb in far space whence its 
own mental heritage had come-for the mind of the Great Race was older 
than its bodily form. 

The beings of a dying elder world, wise with the ultimate secrets, had 
looked ahead for a new world and species wherein they might have long 
life; and had sent their minds en masse into that future race best adapted to 
house them-the cone-shaped beings that peopled our earth a billion years 
ago. 

Thus the Great Race came to be, while the myriad minds sent backward 
were left to die in the horror of strange shapes. Later the race would again 
face death, yet would live through another forward migration of its best 
minds into the bodies of others who had a longer physical span ahead of 
them. 

Such was the background of intertwined legend and hallucination. When, 
around 1920, 1 had my researches in coherent shape, I felt a slight lessening 
of the tension which their earlier stages had increased. After all, and in spite 
of the fancies prompted by blind emotions, were not most of my 
phenomena readily explainable? Any chance might have turned my mind to 
dark studies during the amnesia-and then I read the forbidden legends and 
met the members of ancient and ill-regarded cults. That, plainly, supplied 
the material for the dreams and disturbed feelings which came after the 
return of memory. 

As for the marginal notes in dream-hieroglyphs and languages unknown to 
me, but laid at my door by librarians— I might easily have picked up a 



Chapter 3 28 

smattering of the tongues during my secondary state, while the hieroglyphs 
were doubtless coined by my fancy from descriptions in old legends, and 
afterward woven into my dreams. I tried to verify certain points through 
conversation with known cult leaders, but never succeeded in establishing 
the right connexions. 

At times the parallelism of so many cases in so many distant ages continued 
to worry me as it had at first, but on the other hand I reflected that the 
excitant folklore was undoubtedly more universal in the past than in the 
present. 

Probably all the other victims whose cases were like mine had had a long 
and familiar knowledge of the tales I had learned only when in my 
secondary state. When these victims had lost their memory, they had 
associated themselves with the creatures of their household myths-the 
fabulous invaders supposed to displace men's minds-and had thus 
embarked upon quests for knowledge which they thought they could take 
back to a fancied, non-human past. 

Then, when their memory returned, they reversed the associative process 
and thought of themselves as the former captive minds instead of as the 
displacers. Hence the dreams and pseudo-memories following the 
conventional myth pattern. 

Despite the seeming cumbrousness of these explanations, they came finally 
to supersede all others in my mind— largely because of the greater weakness 
of any rival theory. And a substantial number of eminent psychologists and 
anthropologists gradually agreed with me. 

The more I reflected, the more convincing did my reasoning seem; till in 
the end I had a really effective bulwark against the visions and impressions 
which still assailed me. Suppose I did see strange things at night? These 
were only what I had heard and read of. Suppose I did have odd loathings 
and perspectives and pseudo-memories? These, too, were only echoes of 
myths absorbed in my secondary state. Nothing that I might dream, nothing 
that I might feel, could be of any actual significance. 



Chapter 3 29 

Fortified by this philosophy, I greatly improved in nervous equilibrium, 
even though the visions-rather than the abstract impressions-steadily 
became more frequent and more disturbingly detailed. In 1922 I felt able to 
undertake regular work again, and put my newly gained knowledge to 
practical use by accepting an instructorship in psychology at the university. 

My old chair of political economy had long been adequately filled-besides 
which, methods of teaching economics had changed greatly since my 
heyday. My son was at this time just entering on the post-graduate studies 
leading to his recent professorship, and we worked together a great deal. 



Chapter 4 30 

Chapter 4 

I continued, however, to keep a careful record of the outrZ dreams which 
crowded upon me so thickly and vividly. Such a record, I argued, was of 
genuine value as a psychological document. The glimpses still seemed 
damnably like memories, though I fought off this impression with a goodly 
measure of success. 

In writing, I treated the phantasmata as things seen; but at all other times I 
brushed them aside like any gossamer illusions of the night. I had never 
mentioned such matters in common conversation; though reports of them, 
filtering out as such things will, had aroused sundry rumors regarding my 
mental health. It is amusing to reflect that these rumors were confined 
wholly to laymen, without a single champion among physicians or 
psychologists. 

Of my visions after 1914 I will here mention only a few, since fuller 
accounts and records are at the disposal of the serious student. It is evident 
that with time the curious inhibitions somewhat waned, for the scope of my 
visions vastly increased. They have never, though, become other than 
disjointed fragments seemingly without clear motivation. 

Within the dreams I seemed gradually to acquire a greater and greater 
freedom of wandering. I floated through many strange buildings of stone, 
going from one to the other along mammoth underground passages which 
seemed to form the common avenues of transit. Sometimes I encountered 
those gigantic sealed trap-doors in the lowest level, around which such an 
aura of fear and forbiddenness clung. 

I saw tremendously tessellated pools, and rooms of curious and 
inexplicable utensils of myriad sorts. Then there were colossal caverns of 
intricate machinery whose outlines and purpose were wholly strange to me, 
and whose sound manifested itself only after many years of dreaming. I 
may here remark that sight and sound are the only senses I have ever 
exercised in the visionary world. 



Chapter 4 31 

The real horror began in May, 1915, when I first saw the living things. This 
was before my studies had taught me what, in view of the myths and case 
histories, to expect. As mental barriers wore down, I beheld great masses of 
thin vapour in various parts of the building and in the streets below. 

These steadily grew more solid and distinct, till at last I could trace their 
monstrous outlines with uncomfortable ease. They seemed to be enormous, 
iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made 
up of some ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter. From their apexes projected 
four flexible, cylindrical members, each a foot thick, and of a ridgy 
substance like that of the cones themselves. 

These members were sometimes contracted almost to nothing, and 
sometimes extended to any distance up to about ten feet. Terminating two 
of them were enormous claws or nippers. At the end of a third were four 
red, trumpetlike appendages. The fourth terminated in an irregular 
yellowish globe some two feet in diameter and having three great dark eyes 
ranged along its central circumference. 

Surmounting this head were four slender grey stalks bearing flower-like 
appendages, whilst from its nether side dangled eight greenish antennae or 
tentacles. The great base of the central cone was fringed with a rubbery, 
grey substance which moved the whole entity through expansion and 
contraction. 

Their actions, though harmless, horrified me even more than their 
appearance— for it is not wholesome to watch monstrous objects doing what 
one had known only human beings to do. These objects moved intelligently 
about the great rooms, getting books from the shelves and taking them to 
the great tables, or vice versa, and sometimes writing diligently with a 
peculiar rod gripped in the greenish head tentacles. The huge nippers were 
used in carrying books and in conversation-speech consisting of a kind of 
clicking and scraping. 

The objects had no clothing, but wore satchels or knapsacks suspended 
from the top of the conical trunk. They commonly carried their head and its 



Chapter 4 32 

supporting member at the level of the cone top, although it was frequently 
raised or lowered. 

The other three great members tended to rest downward at the sides of the 
cone, contracted to about five feet each when not in use. From their rate of 
reading, writing, and operating their machines-those on the tables seemed 
somehow connected with thought-I concluded that their intelligence was 
enormously greater than man's. 

Afterward I saw them everywhere; swarming in all the great chambers and 
corridors, tending monstrous machines in vaulted crypts, and racing along 
the vast roads in gigantic, boat-shaped cars. I ceased to be afraid of them, 
for they seemed to form supremely natural parts of their environment. 

Individual differences amongst them began to be manifest, and a few 
appeared to be under some kind of restraint. These latter, though shewing 
no physical variation, had a diversity of gestures and habits which marked 
them off not only from the majority, but very largely from one another. 

They wrote a great deal in what seemed to my cloudy vision a vast variety 
of characters— never the typical curvilinear hieroglyphs of the majority. A 
few, I fancied, used our own familiar alphabet. Most of them worked much 
more slowly than the general mass of the entities. 

All this time my own part in the dreams seemed to be that of a disembodied 
consciousness with a range of vision wider than the normal, floating freely 
about, yet confined to the ordinary avenues and speeds of travel. Not until 
August, 1915, did any suggestions of bodily existence begin to harass me. I 
say harass, because the first phase was a purely abstract, though infinitely 
terrible, association of my previously noted body loathing with the scenes 
of my visions. 

For a while my chief concern during dreams was to avoid looking down at 
myself, and I recall how grateful I was for the total absence of large mirrors 
in the strange rooms. I was mightily troubled by the fact that I always saw 
the great tables-whose height could not be under ten feet-from a level not 



Chapter 4 33 

below that of their surfaces. 

And then the morbid temptation to look down at myself became greater and 
greater, till one night I could not resist it. At first my downward glance 
revealed nothing whatever. A moment later I perceived that this was 
because my head lay at the end of a flexible neck of enormous length. 
Retracting this neck and gazing down very sharply, I saw the scaly, rugose, 
iridescent bulk of a vast cone ten feet tall and ten feet wide at the base. That 
was when I waked half of Arkham with my screaming as I plunged madly 
up from the abyss of sleep. 

Only after weeks of hideous repetition did I grow half-reconciled to these 
visions of myself in monstrous form. In the dreams I now moved bodily 
among the other unknown entities, reading terrible books from the endless 
shelves and writing for hours at the great tables with a stylus managed by 
the green tentacles that hung down from my head. 

Snatches of what I read and wrote would linger in my memory. There were 
horrible annals of other worlds and other universes, and of stirrings of 
formless life outside of all universes. There were records of strange orders 
of beings which had peopled the world in forgotten pasts, and frightful 
chronicles of grotesque-bodied intelligences which would people it millions 
of years after the death of the last human being. 

I learned of chapters in human history whose existence no scholar of today 
has ever suspected. Most of these writings were in the language of the 
hieroglyphs; which I studied in a queer way with the aid of droning 
machines, and which was evidently an agglutinative speech with root 
systems utterly unlike any found in human languages. 

Other volumes were in other unknown tongues learned in the same queer 
way. A very few were in languages I knew. Extremely clever pictures, both 
inserted in the records and forming separate collections, aided me 
immensely. And all the time I seemed to be setting down a history of my 
own age in English. On waking, I could recall only minute and meaningless 
scraps of the unknown tongues which my dream-self had mastered, though 



Chapter 4 34 

whole phrases of the history stayed with me. 

I learned— even before my waking self had studied the parallel cases or the 
old myths from which the dreams doubtless sprang -that the entities around 
me were of the world's greatest race, which had conquered time and had 
sent exploring minds into every age. I knew, too, that I had been snatched 
from my age while another used my body in that age, and that a few of the 
other strange forms housed similarly captured minds. I seemed to talk, in 
some odd language of claw clickings, with exiled intellects from every 
corner of the solar system. 

There was a mind from the planet we know as Venus, which would live 
incalculable epochs to come, and one from an outer moon of Jupiter six 
million years in the past. Of earthly minds there were some from the 
winged, starheaded, half-vegetable race of palaeogean Antarctica; one from 
the reptile people of fabled Valusia; three from the furry pre-human 
Hyperborean worshippers of Tsathoggua; one from the wholly abominable 
Tcho-Tchos; two from the arachnid denizens of earth's last age; five from 
the hardy coleopterous species immediately following mankind, to which 
the Great Race was some day to transfer its keenest minds en masse in the 
face of horrible peril; and several from different branches of humanity. 

I talked with the mind of Yiang-Li, a philosopher from the cruel empire of 
Tsan-Chan, which is to come in 5,000 A.D.; with that of a general of the 
greatheaded brown people who held South Africa in 50,000 B.C.; with that 
of a twelfth-century Florentine monk named Bartolomeo Corsi; with that of 
a king of Lomar who had ruled that terrible polar land one hundred 
thousand years before the squat, yellow Inutos came from the west to 
engulf it. 

I talked with the mind of Nug-Soth, a magician of the dark conquerors of 
16,000 A.D.; with that of a Roman named Titus Sempronius Blaesus, who 
had been a quaestor in Sulla's time; with that of Khephnes, an Egyptian of 
the 14th Dynasty, who told me the hideous secret of Nyarlathotep, with that 
of a priest of Atlantis' middle kingdom; with that of a Suffolk gentleman of 
Cromwell's day, James Woodville; with that of a court astronomer of 



Chapter 4 35 

pre-Inca Peru; with that of the Austrahan physicist Nevil Kingston-Brown, 
who will die in 2,518 A.D.; with that of an archimage of vanished Yhe in 
the Pacific; with that of Theodotides, a Greco-Bactrian official Of 200 
B.C.; with that of an aged Frenchman of Louis XIII's time named 
Pierre-Louis Montagny; with that of Crom-Ya, a Cimmerian chieftain of 
15,000 B.C.; and with so many others that my brain cannot hold the 
shocking secrets and dizzying marvels I learned from them. 

I awaked each morning in a fever, sometimes frantically trying to verify or 
discredit such information as fell within the range of modem human 
knowledge. Traditional facts took on new and doubtful aspects, and I 
marvelled at the dream-fancy which could invent such surprising addenda 
to history and science. 

I shivered at the mysteries the past may conceal, and trembled at the 
menaces the future may bring forth. What was hinted in the speech of 
post-human entities of the fate of mankind produced such an effect on me 
that I will not set it down here. 

After man there would be the mighty beetle civilisation, the bodies of 
whose members the cream of the Great Race would seize when the 
monstrous doom overtook the elder world. Later, as the earth's span closed, 
the transferred minds would again migrate through time and space-to 
another stopping-place in the bodies of the bulbous vegetable entities of 
Mercury. But there would be races after them, clinging pathetically to the 
cold planet and burrowing to its horror-filled core, before the utter end. 

Meanwhile, in my dreams, I wrote endlessly in that history of my own age 
which I was preparing -half voluntarily and half through promises of 
increased library and travel opportunities— for the Great Race's central 
archives. The archives were in a colossal subterranean structure near the 
city's center, which I came to know well through frequent labors and 
consultations. Meant to last as long as the race, and to withstand the fiercest 
of earth's convulsions, this titan repository surpassed all other buildings in 
the massive, mountain-like firmness of its construction. 



Chapter 4 36 

The records, written or printed on great sheets of a curiously tenacious 
cellulose fabric were bound into books that opened from the top, and were 
kept in individual cases of a strange, extremely light, rustless metal of 
greyish hue, decorated with mathematical designs and bearing the title in 
the Great Race's curvilinear hieroglyphs. 

These cases were stored in tiers of rectangular vaults-like closed, locked 
shelves-wrought of the same rustless metal and fastened by knobs with 
intricate turnings. My own history was assigned a specific place in the 
vaults of the lowest or vertebrate level— the section devoted to the culture of 
mankind and of the furry and reptilian races immediately preceding it in 
terrestrial dominance. 

But none of the dreams ever gave me a full picture of daily life. All were 
the merest misty, disconnected fragments, and it is certain that these 
fragments were not unfolded in their rightful sequence. I have, for example, 
a very imperfect idea of my own living arrangements in the dream-world; 
though I seem to have possessed a great stone room of my own. My 
restrictions as a prisoner gradually disappeared, so that some of the visions 
included vivid travels over the mighty jungle roads, sojourns in strange 
cities, and explorations of some of the vast, dark, windowless ruins from 
which the Great Race shrank in curious fear. There were also long sea 
voyages in enormous, many-decked boats of incredible swiftness, and trips 
over wild regions in closed projectile-like airships lifted and moved by 
electrical repulsion. 

Beyond the wide, warm ocean were other cities of the Great Race, and on 
one far continent I saw the crude villages of the black-snouted, winged 
creatures who would evolve as a dominant stock after the Great Race had 
sent its foremost minds into the future to escape the creeping horror. 
Flatness and exuberant green life were always the keynote of the scene. 
Hills were low and sparse, and usually displayed signs of volcanic forces. 

Of the animals I saw, I could write volumes. All were wild; for the Great 
Race's mechanised culture had long since done away with domestic beasts, 
while food was wholly vegetable or synthetic. Clumsy reptiles of great bulk 



Chapter 4 37 

floundered in steaming morasses, fluttered in the heavy air, or spouted in 
the seas and lakes; and among these I fancied I could vaguely recognise 
lesser, archaic prototypes of many forms— dinosaurs, pterodactyls, 
ichthyosaurs, labyrinthodonts, plesiosaurs, and the like-made familiar 
through palaeontology. Of birds or mammals there were none that I could 
discover. 

The ground and swamps were constantly alive with snakes, lizards, and 
crocodiles while insects buzzed incessantly among the lush vegetation. And 
far out at sea, unspied and unknown monsters spouted mountainous 
columns of foam into the vaporous sky. Once I was taken under the ocean 
in a gigantic submarine vessel with searchlights, and glimpsed some living 
horrors of awesome magnitude. I saw also the ruins of incredible sunken 
cities, and the wealth of crinoid, brachiopod, coral, and ichthyic life which 
everywhere abounded. 

Of the physiology, psychology, folkways, and detailed history of the Great 
Race my visions preserved but little information, and many of the scattered 
points I here set down were gleaned from my study of old legends and 
other cases rather than from my own dreaming. 

For in time, of course, my reading and research caught up with and passed 
the dreams in many phases, so that certain dream-fragments were explained 
in advance and formed verifications of what I had learned. This consolingly 
established my belief that similar reading and research, accomplished by 
my secondary self, had formed the source of the whole terrible fabric of 
pseudomemories . 

The period of my dreams, apparently, was one somewhat less than 
150,000,000 years ago, when the Palaeozoic age was giving place to the 
Mesozoic. The bodies occupied by the Great Race represented no 
surviving— or even scientifically known-line of terrestrial evolution, but 
were of a peculiar, closely homogeneous, and highly specialised organic 
type inclining as much as to the vegetable as to the animal state. 



Chapter 4 38 

Cell action was of an unique sort almost precluding fatigue, and wholly 
eliminating the need of sleep. Nourishment, assimilated through the red 
trumpet-like appendages on one of the great flexible limbs, was always 
semifluid and in many aspects wholly unlike the food of existing animals. 

The beings had but two of the senses which we recognise-sight and 
hearing, the latter accomplished through the flower-like appendages on the 
grey stalks above their heads. Of other and incomprehensible senses-not, 
however, well utilizable by alien captive minds inhabiting their 
bodies— they possessed many. Their three eyes were so situated as to give 
them a range of vision wider than the normal. Their blood was a sort of 
deep-greenish ichor of great thickness. 

They had no sex, but reproduced through seeds or spores which clustered 
on their bases and could be developed only under water. Great, shallow 
tanks were used for the growth of their young— which were, however, 
reared only in small numbers on account of the longevity of 
individuals— four or five thousand years being the common life span. 

Markedly defective individuals were quickly disposed of as soon as their 
defects were noticed. Disease and the approach of death were, in the 
absence of a sense of touch or of physical pain, recognised by purely visual 
symptoms. 

The dead were incinerated with dignified ceremonies. Once in a while, as 
before mentioned, a keen mind would escape death by forward projection 
in time; but such cases were not numerous. When one did occur, the exiled 
mind from the future was treated with the utmost kindness till the 
dissolution of its unfamiliar tenement. 

The Great Race seemed to form a single, loosely knit nation or league, with 
major institutions in common, though there were four definite divisions. 
The political and economic system of each unit was a sort of fascistic 
socialism, with major resources rationally distributed, and power delegated 
to a small governing board elected by the votes of all able to pass certain 
educational and psychological tests. Family organisation was not 



Chapter 4 39 

overstressed, though ties among persons of common descent were 
recognised, and the young were generally reared by their parents. 

Resemblances to human attitudes and institutions were, of course, most 
marked in those fields where on the one hand highly abstract elements were 
concerned, or where on the other hand there was a dominance of the basic, 
unspecialised urges common to all organic life. A few added likenesses 
came through conscious adoption as the Great Race probed the future and 
copied what it liked. 

Industry, highly mechanised, demanded but little time from each citizen; 
and the abundant leisure was filled with intellectual and aesthetic activities 
of various sorts. 

The sciences were carried to an unbelievable height of development, and art 
was a vital part of life, though at the period of my dreams it had passed its 
crest and meridian. Technology was enormously stimulated through the 
constant struggle to survive, and to keep in existence the physical fabric of 
great cities, imposed by the prodigious geologic upheavals of those primal 
days. 

Crime was surprisingly scant, and was dealt with through highly efficient 
policing. Punishments ranged from privilege deprivation and imprisonment 
to death or major emotion wrenching, and were never administered without 
a careful study of the criminal's motivations. 

Warfare, largely civil for the last few millennia though sometimes waged 
against reptilian or octopodic invaders, or against the winged, star-headed 
Old Ones who centered in the antarctic, was infrequent though infinitely 
devastating. An enormous army, using camera-like weapons which 
produced tremendous electrical effects, was kept on hand for purposes 
seldom mentioned, but obviously connected with the ceaseless fear of the 
dark, windowless elder ruins and of the great sealed trap-doors in the 
lowest subterranean levels. 



Chapter 4 40 

This fear of the basalt ruins and trap-doors was largely a matter of 
unspoken suggestion— or, at most, of furtive quasi- whispers. Everything 
specific which bore on it was significantly absent from such books as were 
on the common shelves. It was the one subject lying altogether under a 
taboo among the Great Race, and seemed to be connected alike with 
horrible bygone struggles, and with that future peril which would some day 
force the race to send its keener minds ahead en masse in time. 

Imperfect and fragmentary as were the other things presented by dreams 
and legends, this matter was still more bafflingly shrouded. The vague old 
myths avoided it-or perhaps all allusions had for some reason been 
excised. And in the dreams of myself and others, the hints were peculiarly 
few. Members of the Great Race never intentionally referred to the matter, 
and what could be gleaned came only from some of the more sharply 
observant captive minds. 

According to these scraps of information, the basis of the fear was a 
horrible elder race of half-polypous, utterly alien entities which had come 
through space from immeasurably distant universes and had dominated the 
earth and three other solar planets about 600 million years ago. They were 
only partly material— as we understand matter— and their type of 
consciousness and media of perception differed widely from those of 
terrestrial organisms. For example, their senses did not include that of sight; 
their mental world being a strange, non-visual pattern of impressions. 

They were, however, sufficiently material to use implements of normal 
matter when in cosmic areas containing it; and they required 
housing-albeit of a peculiar kind. Though their senses could penetrate all 
material barriers, their substance could not; and certain forms of electrical 
energy could wholly destroy them. They had the power of a 'rial motion, 
despite the absence of wings or any other visible means of levitation. Their 
minds were of such texture that no exchange with them could be effected 
by the Great Race. 

When these things had come to the earth they had built mighty basalt cities 
of windowless towers, and had preyed horribly upon the beings they found. 



Chapter 4 41 

Thus it was when the minds of the Great Race sped across the void from 
that obscure, trans-galactic world known in the disturbing and debatable 
Eltdown Shards as Yith. 

The newcomers, with the instruments they created, had found it easy to 
subdue the predatory entities and drive them down to those caverns of inner 
earth which they had already joined to their abodes and begun to inhabit. 

Then they had sealed the entrances and left them to their fate, afterward 
occupying most of their great cities and preserving certain important 
buildings for reasons connected more with superstition than with 
indifference, boldness, or scientific and historical zeal. 

But as the aeons passed there came vague, evil signs that the elder things 
were growing strong and numerous in the inner world. There were sporadic 
irruptions of a particularly hideous character in certain small and remote 
cities of the Great Race, and in some of the deserted elder cities which the 
Great Race had not peopled-places where the paths to the gulfs below had 
not been properly sealed or guarded. 

After that greater precautions were taken, and many of the paths were 
closed forever— though a few were left with sealed trap-doors for strategic 
use in fighting the elder things if ever they broke forth in unexpected 
places. 

The irruptions of the elder things must have been shocking beyond all 
description, since they had permanently coloured the psychology of the 
Great Race. Such was the fixed mood of horror that the very aspect of the 
creatures was left unmentioned. At no time was I able to gain a clear hint of 
what they looked like. 

There were veiled suggestions of a monstrous plasticity, and of temporary 
lapses of visibility, while other fragmentary whispers referred to their 
control and military use of great winds. Singular whistling noises, and 
colossal footprints made up of five circular toe marks, seemed also to be 
associated with them. 



Chapter 4 42 

It was evident that the coming doom so desperately feared by the Great 
Race-the doom that was one day to send millions of keen minds across the 
chasm of time to strange bodies in the safer future— had to do with a final 
successful irruption of the elder beings. 

Mental projections down the ages had clearly foretold such a horror, and 
the Great Race had resolved that none who could escape should face it. 
That the foray would be a matter of vengeance, rather than an attempt to 
reoccupy the outer world, they knew from the planet's later history— for 
their projections shewed the coming and going of subsequent races 
untroubled by the monstrous entities. 

Perhaps these entities had come to prefer earth's inner abysses to the 
variable, storm-ravaged surface, since light meant nothing to them. 
Perhaps, too, they were slowly weakening with the aeons. Indeed, it was 
known that they would be quite dead in the time of the post-human beetle 
race which the fleeing minds would tenant. 

Meanwhile, the Great Race maintained its cautious vigilance, with potent 
weapons ceaselessly ready despite the horrified banishing of the subject 
from common speech and visible records. And always the shadow of 
nameless fear hung bout the sealed trap-doors and the dark, windowless 
elder towers. 



Chapter 5 43 

Chapter 5 

That is the world of which my dreams brought me dim, scattered echoes 
every night. I cannot hope to give any true idea of the horror and dread 
contained in such echoes, for it was upon a wholly intangible quality-the 
sharp sense of pseudo-memory— that such feelings mainly depended. 

As I have said, my studies gradually gave me a defence against these 
feelings in the form of rational psychological explanations; and this saving 
influence was augmented by the subtle touch of accustomedness which 
comes with the passage of time. Yet in spite of everything the vague, 
creeping terror would return momentarily now and then. It did not, 
however, engulf me as it had before; and after 1922 I lived a very normal 
life of work and recreation. 

In the course of years I began to feel that my experience— together with the 
kindred cases and the related folklore— ought to be definitely summarised 
and published for the benefit of serious students; hence I prepared a series 
of articles briefly covering the whole ground and illustrated with crude 
sketches of some of the shapes, scenes, decorative motifs, and hieroglyphs 
remembered from the dreams. 

These appeared at various times during 1928 and 1929 in the Journal of the 
American Psychological Society, but did not attract much attention. 
Meanwhile I continued to record my dreams with the minutest care, even 
though the growing stack of reports attained troublesomely vast 
proportions. On July 10, 1934, there was forwarded to me by the 
Psychological Society the letter which opened the culminating and most 
horrible phase of the whole mad ordeal. It was postmarked Pilbarra, 
Western Australia, and bore the signature of one whom I found, upon 
inquiry, to be a mining engineer of considerable prominence. Enclosed 
were some very curious snapshots. I will reproduce the text in its entirety, 
and no reader can fail to understand how tremendous an effect it and the 
photographs had upon me. 



Chapter 5 44 

I was, for a time, almost stunned and incredulous; for although I had often 
thought that some basis of fact must underlie certain phases of the legends 
which had coloured my dreams, I was none the less unprepared for 
anything like a tangible survival from a lost world remote beyond all 
imagination. Most devastating of all were the photographs-for here, in 
cold, incontrovertible realism, there stood out against a background of sand 
certain worn-down, water-ridged, storm-weathered blocks of stone whose 
slightly convex tops and slightly concave bottoms told their own story. 

And when I studied them with a magnifying glass I could see all too 
plainly, amidst the batterrings and pittings, the traces of those vast 
curvilinear designs and occasional hieroglyphs whose significance had 
become so hideous to me. But here is the letter, which speaks for itself. 

49, Dampier St., Pilbarra, W. Australia, 

May 18, 1934. 

Prof. N. W Peaslee, c/o Am. Psychological Society, 30 E. 41st St., New 
York City, U.S.A. 

My Dear Sir: 

A recent conversation with Dr. E. M. Boyle of Perth, and some papers with 
your articles which he has just sent me, make it advisable for me to tell you 
about certain things I have seen in the Great Sandy Desert east of our gold 
field here. It would seem, in view of the peculiar legends about old cities 
with huge stonework and strange designs and hieroglyphs which you 
describe, that I have come upon something very important. 

The blackfellows have always been full of talk about "great stones with 
marks on them," and seem to have a terrible fear of such things. They 
connect them in some way with their common racial legends about Buddai, 
the gigantic old man who lies asleep for ages underground with his head on 
his arm, and who will some day awake and eat up the world. 



Chapter 5 45 

There are some very old and half- forgotten tales of enormous underground 
huts of great stones, where passages lead down and down, and where 
horrible things have happened. The blackfellows claim that once some 
warriors, fleeing in battle, went down into one and never came back, but 
that frightful winds began to blow from the place soon after they went 
down. However, there usually isn't much in what these natives say. 

But what I have to tell is more than this. Two years ago, when I was 
prospecting about 500 miles east in the desert, I came on a lot of queer 
pieces of dressed stone perhaps 3X2X2 feet in size, and weathered and 
pitted to the very limit. 

At first I couldn't find any of the marks the blackfellows told about, but 
when I looked close enough I could make out some deeply carved lines in 
spite of the weathering. There were peculiar curves, just like what the 
blackfellows had tried to describe. I imagine there must have been thirty or 
forty blocks, some nearly buried in the sand, and all within a circle perhaps 
a quarter of a mile in diameter. 

When I saw some, I looked around closely for more, and made a careful 
reckoning of the place with my instruments. I also took pictures of ten or 
twelve of the most typical blocks, and will enclose the prints for you to see. 

I turned my information and pictures over to the government at Perth, but 
they have done nothing about them. 

Then I met Dr. Boyle, who had read your articles in the Joumal of the 
American Psychological Society, and, in time, happened to mention the 
stones. He was enormously interested, and became quite excited when I 
shewed him my snapshots, saying that the stones and the markings were 
just like those of the masonry you had dreamed about and seen described in 
legends. 

He meant to write you, but was delayed. Meanwhile, he sent me most of the 
magazines with your articles, and I saw at once, from your drawings and 
descriptions, that my stones are certainly the kind you mean. You can 



Chapter 5 46 

appreciate this from the enclosed prints. Later on you will hear directly 
from Dr. Boyle. 

Now I can understand how important all this will be to you. Without 
question we are faced with the remains of an unknown civilization older 
than any dreamed of before, and forming a basis for your legends. 

As a mining engineer, I have some knowledge of geology, and can tell you 
that these blocks are so ancient they frighten me. They are mostly 
sandstone and granite, though one is almost certainly made of a queer sort 
of cement or concrete. 

They bear evidence of water action, as if this part of the world had been 
submerged and come up again after long ages— all since those blocks were 
made and used. It is a matter of hundreds of thousands of years— or heaven 
knows how much more. I don't like to think about it. 

In view of your previous diligent work in tracking down the legends and 
everything connected with them, I cannot doubt but that you will want to 
lead an expedition to the desert and make some archaeological excavations. 
Both Dr. Boyle and I are prepared to cooperate in such work if you— or 
organizations known to you-can furnish the funds. 

I can get together a dozen miners for the heavy digging-the blackfellows 
would be of no use, for I've found that they have an almost maniacal fear of 
this particular spot. Boyle and I are saying nothing to others, for you very 
obviously ought to have precedence in any discoveries or credit. 

The place can be reached from Pilbarra in about four days by motor 
tractor— which we'd need for our apparatus. It is somewhat west and south 
of Warburton's path of 1873, and 100 miles southeast of Joanna Spring. We 
could float things up the De Grey River instead of starting from 
Pilbarra-but all that can be talked over later. 

Roughly the stones lie at a point about 22; 3' 14" South Latitude, 125; 0' 
39" East Longitude. The climate is tropical, and the desert conditions are 



Chapter 5 47 

trying. 

I shall welcome further correspondence upon this subject, and am keenly 
eager to assist in any plan you may devise. After studying your articles I am 
deeply impressed with the profound significance of the whole matter. Dr. 
Boyle will write later. When rapid communication is needed, a cable to 
Perth can be relayed by wireless. 

Hoping profoundly for an early message. 

Believe me. 

Most faithfully yours, Robert B.F. Mackenzie 

Of the immediate aftermath of this letter, much can be learned from the 
press. My good fortune in securing the backing of Miskatonic University 
was great, and both Mr. Mackenzie and Dr. Boyle proved invaluable in 
arranging matters at the Australian end. We were not too specific with the 
public about our objects, since the whole matter would have lent itself 
unpleasantly to sensational and jocose treatment by the cheaper 
newspapers. As a result, printed reports were sparing; but enough appeared 
to tell of our quest for reported Australian ruins and to chronicle our 
various preparatory steps. 

Professor William Dyer of the college's geology department-leader of the 
Miskatonic Antarctic Expedition Of 1930-31— Ferdinand C. Ashley of the 
department of ancient history, and Tyler M. Freeborn of the department of 
anthropology— together with my son Wingate— accompanied me. 

My correspondent, Mackenzie, came to Arkham early in 1935 and assisted 
in our final preparations. He proved to be a tremendously competent and 
affable man of about fifty, admirably well-read, and deeply familiar with all 
the conditions of Australian travel. 

He had tractors waiting at Pilbarra, and we chartered a tramp steamer 
sufficiently small to get up the river to that point. We were prepared to 



Chapter 5 48 

excavate in the most careful and scientific fashion, sifting every particle of 
sand, and disturbing nothing which might seem to be in or near its original 
situation. 

Sailing from Boston aboard the wheezy Lexington on March 28, 1935, we 
had a leisurely trip across the Atlantic and Mediterranean, through the Suez 
Canal, down the Red Sea, and across the Indian Ocean to our goal. I need 
not tell how the sight of the low, sandy West Australian coast depressed 
me, and how I detested the crude mining town and dreary gold fields where 
the tractors were given their last loads. 

Dr. Boyle, who met us, proved to be elderly, pleasant, and intelligent-and 
his knowledge of psychology led him into many long discussions with my 
son and me. 

Discomfort and expectancy were oddly mingled in most of us when at 
length our party of eighteen rattled forth over the arid leagues of sand and 
rock. On Friday, May 31st, we forded a branch of the De Grey and entered 
the realm of utter desolation. A certain positive terror grew on me as we 
advanced to this actual site of the elder world behind the legends-a terror, 
of course, abetted by the fact that my disturbing dreams and 
pseudo-memories still beset me with unabated force. 

It was on Monday, June 3rd, that we saw the first of the half-buried blocks. 
I cannot describe the emotions with which I actually touched-in objective 
reality— a fragment of Cyclopean masonry in every respect like the blocks 
in the walls of my dream-buildings. There was a distinct trace of 
carving— and my hands trembled as I recognised part of a curvilinear 
decorative scheme made hellish to me through years of tormenting 
nightmare and baffling research. 

A month of digging brought a total of some 1250 blocks in varying stages 
of wear and disintegration. Most of these were carven megaliths with 
curved tops and bottoms. A minority were smaller, flatter, plain-surfaced, 
and square or octagonally cut-like those of the floors and pavements in my 
dreams— while a few were singularly massive and curved or slanted in such 



Chapter 5 49 

a manner as to suggest use in vaulting or groining, or as parts of arches or 
round window casings. 

The deeper-and the farther north and east— we dug, the more blocks we 
found; though we still failed to discover any trace of arrangement among 
them. Professor Dyer was appalled at the measureless age of the fragments, 
and Freeborn found traces of symbols which fitted darkly into certain 
Papuan and Polynesian legends of infinite antiquity. The condition and 
scattering of the blocks told mutely of vertiginous cycles of time and 
geologic upheavals of cosmic savagery. 

We had an a'roplane with us, and my son Wingate would often go up to 
different heights and scan the sand-and-rock waste for signs of dim, 
large-scale outlines— either differences of level or trails of scattered blocks. 
His results were virtually negative; for whenever he would one day think he 
had glimpsed some significant trend, he would on his next trip find the 
impression replaced by another equally insubstantial— a result of the 
shifting, wind-blown sand. 

One or two of these ephemeral suggestions, though, affected me queerly 
and disagreeably. They seemed, after a fashion, to dovetail horribly with 
something I had dreamed or read, but which I could no longer remember. 
There was a terrible familiarity about them— which somehow made me look 
furtively and apprehensively over the abominable, sterile terrain toward the 
north and northeast. 

Around the first week in July I developed an unaccountable set of mixed 
emotions about that general northeasterly region. There was horror, and 
there was curiosity— but more than that, there was a persistent and 
perplexing illusion of memory. 

I tried all sorts of psychological expedients to get these notions out of my 
head, but met with no success. Sleeplessness also gained upon me, but I 
almost welcomed this because of the resultant shortening of my 
dream-periods. I acquired the habit of taking long, lone walks in the desert 
late at night-usually to the north or northeast, whither the sum of my 



Chapter 5 50 

Strange new impulses seemed subtly to pull me. 

Sometimes, on these walks, I would stumble over nearly buried fragments 
of the ancient masonry. Though there were fewer visible blocks here than 
where we had started, I felt sure that there must be a vast abundance 
beneath the surface. The ground was less level than at our camp, and the 
prevailing high winds now and then piled the sand into fantastic temporary 
hillocks— exposing low traces of the elder stones while it covered other 
traces. 

I was queerly anxious to have the excavations extend to this territory, yet at 
the same time dreaded what might be revealed. Obviously, I was getting 
into a rather bad state— all the worse because I could not account for it. 

An indication of my poor nervous health can be gained from my response 
to an odd discovery which I made on one of my nocturnal rambles. It was 
on the evening of July Uth, when the moon flooded the mysterious hillocks 
with a curious pallor. 

Wandering somewhat beyond my usual limits, I came upon a great stone 
which seemed to differ markedly from any we had yet encountered. It was 
almost wholly covered, but I stooped and cleared away the sand with my 
hands, later studying the object carefully and supplementing the moonlight 
with my electric torch. 

Unlike the other very large rocks, this one was perfectly square-cut, with no 
convex or concave surface. It seemed, too, to be of a dark basaltic 
substance, wholly dissimilar to the granite and sandstone and occasional 
concrete of the now familiar fragments. 

Suddenly I rose, turned, and ran for the camp at top speed. It was a wholly 
unconscious and irrational flight, and only when I was close to my tent did 
I fully realise why I had run. Then it came to me. The queer dark stone was 
something which I had dreamed and read about, and which was linked with 
the uttermost horrors of the aeon-old legendry. 



Chapter 5 51 

It was one of the blocks of that basaltic elder masonry which the fabled 
Great Race held in such fear-the tall, windowless ruins left by those 
brooding, half-material, alien things that festered in earth's nether abysses 
and against whose wind-like, invisible forces the trap-doors were sealed 
and the sleepless sentinels posted. 

I remained awake all night, but by dawn realised how silly I had been to let 
the shadow of a myth upset me. Instead of being frightened, I should have 
had a discoverer's enthusiasm. 

The next forenoon I told the others about my find, and Dyer, Freeborn, 
Boyle, my son, and I set out to view the anomalous block. Failure, 
however, confronted us. I had formed no clear idea of the stone's location, 
and a late wind had wholly altered the hillocks of shifting sand. 



Chapter 6 52 

Chapter 6 

I come now to the crucial and most difficult part of my narrative— all the 
more difficult because I cannot be quite certain of its reality. At times I feel 
uncomfortably sure that I was not dreaming or deluded; and it is this feeling 
in view of the stupendous implications which the objective truth of my 
experience would raise— which impels me to make this record. 

My son— a trained psychologist with the fullest and most sympathetic 
knowledge of my whole case— shall be the primary judge of what I have to 
tell. 

First let me outline the externals of the matter, as those at the camp know 
them. On the night of July 17-18, after a windy day, I retired early but 
could not sleep. Rising shortly before eleven, and afflicted as usual with 
that strange feeling regarding the northeastward terrain, I set out on one of 
my typical nocturnal walks; seeing and greeting only one person-an 
Australian miner named Tupper— as I left our precincts. 

The moon, slightly past full, shone from a clear sky, and drenched the 
ancient sands with a white, leprous radiance which seemed to me somehow 
infinitely evil. There was no longer any wind, nor did any return for nearly 
five hours, as amply attested by Tupper and others who saw me walking 
rapidly across the pallid, secret-guarding hillocks toward the northeast. 

About 3:30 a.m. a violent wind blew up, waking everyone in camp and 
felling three of the tents. The sky was unclouded, and the desert still blazed 
with that leprous moonlight. As the party saw to the tents my absence was 
noted, but in view of my previous walks this circumstance gave no one 
alarm. And yet, as many as three men-all Australians-seemed to feel 
something sinister in the air. 

Mackenzie explained to Professor Freeborn that this was a fear picked up 
from blackfellow folklore— the natives having woven a curious fabric of 
malignant myth about the high winds which at long intervals sweep across 
the sands under a clear sky. Such winds, it is whispered, blow out of the 



Chapter 6 53 

great stone huts under the ground, where terrible things have 
happened— and are never felt except near places where the big marked 
stones are scattered. Close to four the gale subsided as suddenly as it had 
begun, leaving the sand hills in new and unfamiliar shapes. 

It was just past five, with the bloated, fungoid moon sinking in the west, 
when I staggered into camp— hatless, tattered, features scratched and 
ensanguined, and without my electric torch. Most of the men had returned 
to bed, but Professor Dyer was smoking a pipe in front of his tent. Seeing 
my winded and almost frenzied state, he called Dr. Boyle, and the two of 
them got me on my cot and made me comfortable. My son, roused by the 
stir, soon joined them, and they all tried to force me to lie still and attempt 
sleep. 

But there was no sleep for me. My psychological state was very 
extraordinary— different from anything I had previously suffered. After a 
time I insisted upon talking— nervously and elaborately explaining my 
condition. I told them I had become fatigued, and had lain down in the sand 
for a nap. There had, I said, been dreams even more frightful than 
usual-and when I was awaked by the sudden high wind my overwrought 
nerves had snapped. I had fled in panic, frequently falling over half-buried 
stones and thus gaining my tattered and bedraggled aspect. I must have 
slept long-hence the hours of my absence. 

Of anything strange either seen or experienced I hinted absolutely 
nothing-exercising the greatest self-control in that respect. But I spoke of a 
change of mind regarding the whole work of the expedition, and urged a 
halt in all digging toward the northeast. My reasoning was patently 
weak- for I mentioned a dearth of blocks, a wish not to offend the 
superstitious miners, a possible shortage of funds from the college, and 
other things either untrue or irrelevant. Naturally, no one paid the least 
attention to my new wishes-not even my son, whose concern for my health 
was obvious. 

The next day I was up and around the camp, but took no part in the 
excavations. Seeing that I could not stop the work, I decided to return home 



Chapter 6 54 

as soon as possible for the sake of my nerves, and made my son promise to 
fly me in the plane to Perth— a thousand miles to the southwest-as soon as 
he had surveyed the region I wished let alone. 

If, I reflected, the thing I had seen was still visible, I might decide to 
attempt a specific warning even at the cost of ridicule. It was just 
conceivable that the miners who knew the local folklore might back me up. 
Humouring me, my son made the survey that very afternoon, flying over all 
the terrain my walk could possibly have covered. Yet nothing of what I had 
found remained in sight. 

It was the case of the anomalous basalt block all over again— the shifting 
sand had wiped out every trace. For an instant I half regretted having lost a 
certain awesome object in my stark fright— but now I know that the loss was 
merciful. I can still believe my whole experience an illusion— especially if, 
as I devoutly hope, that hellish abyss is never found. 

Wingate took me to Perth on July 20th, though declining to abandon the 
expedition and return home. He stayed with me until the 25th, when the 
steamer for Liverpool sailed. Now, in the cabin of the Empress, I am 
pondering long and frantically upon the entire matter, and have decided that 
my son at least must be informed. It shall rest with him whether to diffuse 
the matter more widely. 

In order to meet any eventuality I have prepared this summary of my 
background-as already known in a scattered way to others— and will now 
tell as briefly as possible what seemed to happen during my absence from 
the camp that hideous night. 

Nerves on edge, and whipped into a kind of perverse eagerness by that 
inexplicable, dread-mingled, mnemonic urge toward the northeast, I 
plodded on beneath the evil, burning moon. Here and there I saw, half 
shrouded by sand, those primal Cyclopean blocks left from nameless and 
forgotten aeons. 



Chapter 6 55 

The incalculable age and brooding horror of this monstrous waste began to 
oppress me as never before, and I could not keep from thinking of my 
maddening dreams, of the frightful legends which lay behind them, and of 
the present fears of natives and miners concerning the desert and its carven 
stones. 

And yet I plodded on as if to some eldritch rendezvous-more and more 
assailed by bewildering fancies, compulsions, and pseudo-memories. I 
thought of some of the possible contours of the lines of stones as seen by 
my son from the air, and wondered why they seemed at once so ominous 
and so familiar. Something was fumbling and rattling at the latch of my 
recollection, while another unknown force sought to keep the portal barred. 

The night was windless, and the pallid sand curved upward and downward 
like frozen waves of the sea. I had no goal, but somehow ploughed along as 
if with fate-bound assurance. My dreams welled up into the waking world, 
so that each sand-embedded megalith seemed part of endless rooms and 
corridors of pre-human masonry, carved and hieroglyphed with symbols 
that I knew too well from years of custom as a captive mind of the Great 
Race. 

At moments I fancied I saw those omniscient, conical horrors moving about 
at their accustomed tasks, and I feared to look down lest I find myself one 
with them in aspect. Yet all the while I saw the sand-covered blocks as well 
as the rooms and corridors; the evil, burning moon as well as the lamps of 
luminous crystal; the endless desert as well as the waving ferns beyond the 
windows. I was awake and dreaming at the same time. 

I do not know how long or how far-or indeed, in just what direction-I had 
walked when I first spied the heap of blocks bared by the day's wind. It was 
the largest group in one place that I had seen so far, and so sharply did it 
impress me that the visions of fabulous aeons faded suddenly away. 

Again there were only the desert and the evil moon and the shards of an 
unguessed past. I drew close and paused, and cast the added light of my 
electric torch over the tumbled pile. A hillock had blown away, leaving a 



Chapter 6 56 

low, irregularly round mass of megaliths and smaller fragments some forty 
feet across and from two to eight feet high. 

From the very outset I realized that there was some utterly unprecedented 
quality about those stones. Not only was the mere number of them quite 
without parallel, but something in the sandwom traces of design arrested 
me as I scanned them under the mingled beams of the moon and my torch. 

Not that any one differed essentially from the earlier specimens we had 
found. It was something subtler than that. The impression did not come 
when I looked at one block alone, but only when I ran my eye over several 
almost simultaneously. 

Then, at last, the truth dawned upon me. The curvilinear patterns on many 
of those blocks were closely related— parts of one vast decorative 
conception. For the first time in this aeon-shaken waste I had come upon a 
mass of masonry in its old position-tumbled and fragmentary, it is true, but 
none the less existing in a very definite sense. 

Mounting at a low place, I clambered laboriously over the heap; here and 
there clearing away the sand with my fingers, and constantly striving to 
interpret varieties of size, shape, and style, and relationships of design. 

After a while I could vaguely guess at the nature of the bygone structure, 
and at the designs which had once stretched over the vast surfaces of the 
primal masonry. The perfect identity of the whole with some of my 
dream-glimpses appalled and unnerved me. 

This was once a Cyclopean corridor thirty feet tall, paved with octagonal 
blocks and solidly vaulted overhead. There would have been rooms 
opening off on the right, and at the farther end one of those strange inclined 
planes would have wound down to still lower depths. 

I started violently as these conceptions occurred to me, for there was more 
in them than the blocks themselves had supplied. How did I know that this 
level should have been far underground? How did I know that the plane 



Chapter 6 57 

leading upward should have been behind me? How did I know that the long 
subterrene passage to the Square of Pillars ought to lie on the left one level 
above me? 

How did I know that the room of machines and the rightward-leading 
tunnel to the central archives ought to lie two levels below? How did I 
know that there would be one of those horrible, metal-banded trap-doors at 
the very bottom four levels down? Bewildered by this intrusion from the 
dream-world, I found myself shaking and bathed in a cold perspiration. 

Then, as a last, intolerable touch, I felt that faint, insidious stream of cool 
air trickling upward from a depressed place near the center of the huge 
heap. Instantly, as once before, my visions faded, and I saw again only the 
evil moonlight, the brooding desert, and the spreading tumulus of 
palaeogean masonry. Something real and tangible, yet fraught with infinite 
suggestions of nighted mystery, now confronted me. For that stream of air 
could argue but one thing-a hidden gulf of great size beneath the 
disordered blocks on the surface. 

My first thought was of the sinister blackfellow legends of vast 
underground huts among the megaliths where horrors happen and great 
winds are bom. Then thoughts of my own dreams came back, and I felt dim 
pseudo-memories tugging at my mind. What manner of place lay below 
me? What primal, inconceivable source of age-old myth-cycles and 
haunting nightmares might I be on the brink of uncovering? 

It was only for a moment that I hesitated, for more than curiosity and 
scientific zeal was driving me on and working against my growing fear. 

I seemed to move almost automatically, as if in the clutch of some 
compelling fate. Pocketing my torch, and struggling with a strength that I 
had not thought I possessed, I wrenched aside first one titan fragment of 
stone and then another, till there welled up a strong draught whose 
dampness contrasted oddly with the desert's dry air. A black rift began to 
yawn, and at length-when I had pushed away every fragment small enough 
to budge-the leprous moonlight blazed on an aperture of ample width to 



Chapter 6 58 

admit me. 

I drew out my torch and cast a brilliant beam into the opening. Below me 
was a chaos of tumbled masonry, sloping roughly down toward the north at 
an angle of about forty-five degrees, and evidently the result of some 
bygone collapse from above. 

Between its surface and the ground level was a gulf of impenetrable 
blackness at whose upper edge were signs of gigantic, stress-heaved 
vaulting. At this point, it appeared, the desert's sands lay directly upon a 
floor of some titan structure of earth's youth— how preserved through aeons 
of geologic convulsion I could not then and cannot now even attempt to 
guess. 

In retrospect, the barest idea of a sudden, lone descent into such a doubtful 
abyss-and at a time when one's whereabouts were unknown to any living 
soul-seems like the utter apex of insanity. Perhaps it was-yet that night I 
embarked without hesitancy upon such a descent. 

Again there was manifest that lure and driving of fatality which had all 
along seemed to direct my course. With torch flashing intermittently to 
save the battery, I commenced a mad scramble down the sinister, 
Cyclopean incline below the opening-sometimes facing forward as I found 
good hand-and foot-holds, and at other times turning to face the heap of 
megaliths as I clung and fumbled more precariously. 

In two directions beside me distant walls of carven, crumbling masonry 
loomed dimly under the direct beams of my torch. Ahead, however, was 
only unbroken darkness. 

I kept no track of time during my downward scramble. So seething with 
baffling hints and images was my mind that all objective matters seemed 
withdrawn into incalculable distances. Physical sensation was dead, and 
even fear remained as a wraith-like, inactive gargoyle leering impotently at 
me. 



Chapter 6 59 

Eventually, I reached a level floor strewn with fallen blocks, shapeless 
fragments of stone, and sand and detritus of every kind. On either 
side— perhaps thirty feet apart— rose massive walls culminating in huge 
groinings. That they were carved I could just discern, but the nature of the 
carvings was beyond my perception. 

What held me the most was the vaulting overhead. The beam from my 
torch could not reach the roof, but the lower parts of the monstrous arches 
stood out distinctly. And so perfect was their identity with what I had seen 
in countless dreams of the elder world, that I trembled actively for the first 
time. 

Behind and high above, a faint luminous blur told of the distant moonlit 
world outside. Some vague shred of caution warned me that I should not let 
it out of my sight, lest I have no guide for my return. 

I now advanced toward the wall at my left, where the traces of carving were 
plainest. The littered floor was nearly as hard to traverse as the downward 
heap had been, but I managed to pick my difficult way. 

At one place I heaved aside some blocks and locked away the detritus to 
see what the pavement was like, and shuddered at the utter, fateful 
familiarity of the great octagonal stones whose buckled surface still held 
roughly together. 

Reaching a convenient distance from the wall, I cast the searchlight slowly 
and carefully over its worn remnants of carving. Some bygone influx of 
water seemed to have acted on the sandstone surface, while there were 
curious incrustations which I could not explain. 

In places the masonry was very loose and distorted, and I wondered how 
many aeons more this primal, hidden edifice could keep its remaining 
traces of form amidst earth's heavings. 

But it was the carvings themselves that excited me most. Despite their 
time-crumbled state, they were relatively easy to trace at close range; and 



Chapter 6 60 

the complete, intimate familiarity of every detail almost stunned my 
imagination. 

That the major attributes of this hoary masonry should be familiar, was not 
beyond normal credibility. 

Powerfully impressing the weavers of certain myths, they had become 
embodied in a stream of cryptic lore which, somehow, coming to my notice 
during the amnesic period, had evoked vivid images in my subconscious 
mind. 

But how could I explain the exact and minute fashion in which each line 
and spiral of these strange designs tallied with what I had dreamed for more 
than a score of years? What obscure, forgotten iconography could have 
reproduced each subtle shading and nuance which so persistently, exactly, 
and unvaryingly besieged my sleeping vision night after night? 

For this was no chance or remote resemblance. Definitely and absolutely, 
the millennially ancient, aeon-hidden corridor in which I stood was the 
original of something I knew in sleep as intimately as I knew my own 
house in Crane Street, Arkham. True, my dreams shewed the place in its 
undecayed prime; but the identity was no less real on that account. I was 
wholly and horribly oriented. 

The particular structure I was in was known to me. Known, too, was its 
place in that terrible elder city of dreams. That I could visit unerringly any 
point in that structure or in that city which had escaped the changes and 
devastations of uncounted ages, I realized with hideous and instinctive 
certainty. What in heaven's name could all this mean? How had I come to 
know what I knew? And what awful reality could lie behind those antique 
tales of the beings who had dwelt in this labyrinth of primordial stone? 

Words can convey only fractionally the welter of dread and bewilderment 
which ate at my spirit. I knew this place. I knew what lay before me, and 
what had lain overhead before the myriad towering stories had fallen to 
dust and debris and the desert. No need now, I thought with a shudder, to 



Chapter 6 61 

keep that faint blur of moonlight in view. 

I was torn betwixt a longing to flee and a feverish mixture of burning 
curiosity and driving fatality. What had happened to this monstrous 
megalopolis of old in the millions of years since the time of my dreams? Of 
the subterrene mazes which had underlain the city and linked all the titan 
towers, how much had still survived the writhings of earth's crust? 

Had I come upon a whole buried world of unholy archaism? Could I still 
find the house of the writing master, and the tower where S'gg'ha, the 
captive mind from the star-headed vegetable carnivores of Antarctica, had 
chiselled certain pictures on the blank spaces of the walls? 

Would the passage at the second level down, to the hall of the alien minds, 
be still unchoked and traversable? In that hall the captive mind of an 
incredible entity— a half-plastic denizen of the hollow interior of an 
unknown trans-Plutonian planet eighteen million years in the future-had 
kept a certain thing which it had modelled from clay. 

I shut my eyes and put my hand to my head in a vain, pitiful effort to drive 
these insane dream-fragments from my consciousness. Then, for the first 
time, I felt acutely the coolness, motion, and dampness of the surrounding 
air. Shuddering, I realized that a vast chain of aeon-dead black gulfs must 
indeed be yawning somewhere beyond and below me. 

I thought of the frightful chambers and corridors and inclines as I recalled 
them from my dreams. Would the way to the central archives still be open? 
Again that driving fatality tugged insistently at my brain as I recalled the 
awesome records that once lay cased in those rectangular vaults of rustless 
metal. 

There, said the dreams and legends, had reposed the whole history, past and 
future, of the cosmic space-time continuum— written by captive minds from 
every orb and every age in the solar system. Madness, of course— but had I 
not now stumbled into a nighted world as mad as I? 



Chapter 6 62 

I thought of the locked metal shelves, and of the curious knob twistings 
needed to open each one. My own came vividly into my consciousness. 
How often had I gone through that intricate routine of varied turns and 
pressures in the terrestrial vertebrate section on the lowest level! Every 
detail was fresh and familiar. 

If there were such a vault as I had dreamed of, I could open it in a moment. 
It was then that madness took me utterly. An instant later, and I was leaping 
and stumbling over the rocky debris toward the well-remembered incline to 
the depths below. 



Chapter 7 63 

Chapter 7 

From that point forward my impressions are scarcely to be relied 
on-indeed, I still possess a final, desperate hope that they all form parts of 
some daemonic dream or illusion bom of delirium. A fever raged in my 
brain, and everything came to me through a kind of haze— sometimes only 
intermittently. 

The rays of my torch shot feebly into the engulfing blackness, bringing 
phantasmal flashes of hideously familiar walls and carvings, all blighted 
with the decay of ages. In one place a tremendous mass of vaulting had 
fallen, so that I had to clamber over a mighty mound of stones reaching 
almost to the ragged, grotesquely stalactited roof. 

It was all the ultimate apex of nightmare, made worse by the blasphemous 
tug of pseudo-memory. One thing only was unfamiliar, and that was my 
own size in relation to the monstrous masonry. I felt oppressed by a sense 
of unwonted smallness, as if the sight of these towering walls from a mere 
human body was something wholly new and abnormal. Again and again I 
looked nervously down at myself, vaguely disturbed by the human form I 
possessed. 

Onward through the blackness of the abyss I leaped, plunged, and 
staggered-often falling and bruising myself, and once nearly shattering my 
torch. Every stone and comer of that daemonic gulf was known to me, and 
at many points I stopped to cast beams of light through choked and 
crumbling, yet familiar, archways. 

Some rooms had totally collapsed; others were bare, or debris-filled. In a 
few I saw masses of metal— some fairly intact, some broken, and some 
crushed or battered— which I recognised as the colossal pedestals or tables 
of my dreams. What they could in truth have been, I dared not guess. 

I found the downward incline and began its descent-though after a time 
halted by a gaping, ragged chasm whose narrowest point could not be much 
less than four feet across. Here the stonework had fallen through, revealing 



Chapter 7 64 

incalculable inky depths beneath. 

I knew there were two more cellar levels in this titan edifice, and trembled 
with fresh panic as I recalled the metal-clamped trap-door on the lowest 
one. There could be no guards now-for what had lurked beneath had long 
since done its hideous work and sunk into its long decline. By the time of 
the posthuman beetle race it would be quite dead. And yet, as I thought of 
the native legends, I trembled anew. 

It cost me a terrible effort to vault that yawning chasm, since the littered 
floor prevented a running start— but madness drove me on. I chose a place 
close to the left-hand wall-where the rift was least wide and the 
landing-spot reasonably clear of dangerous debris-and after one frantic 
moment reached the other side in safety. 

At last, gaining the lower level, I stumbled on past the archway of the room 
of machines, within which were fantastic ruins of metal, half buried 
beneath fallen vaulting. Everything was where I knew it would be, and I 
climbed confidently over the heaps which barred the entrance of a vast 
transverse corridor. This, I realised, would take me under the city to the 
central archives. 

Endless ages seemed to unroll as I stumbled, leaped, and crawled along that 
debris-cluttered corridor. Now and then I could make out carvings on the 
ages-tained walls— some familiar, others seemingly added since the period 
of my dreams. Since this was a subterrene house-connecting highway, there 
were no archways save when the route led through the lower levels of 
various buildings. 

At some of these intersections I turned aside long enough to look down 
well-remembered corridors and into well-remembered rooms. Twice only 
did I find any radical changes from what I had dreamed of-and in one of 
these cases I could trace the sealed-up outlines of the archway I 
remembered. 



Chapter 7 65 

I shook violently, and felt a curious surge of retarding weakness, as I 
steered a hurried and reluctant course through the crypt of one of those 
great windowless, ruined towers whose alien, basalt masonry bespoke a 
whispered and horrible origin. 

This primal vault was round and fully two hundred feet across, with 
nothing carved upon the dark-hued stonework. The floor was here free from 
anything save dust and sand, and I could see the apertures leading upward 
and downward. There were no stairs or inclines— indeed, my dreams had 
pictured those elder towers as wholly untouched by the fabulous Great 
Race. Those who had built them had not needed stairs or inclines. 

In the dreams, the downward aperture had been tightly sealed and 
nervously guarded. Now it lay open-black and yawning, and giving forth a 
current of cool, damp air. Of what limitless caverns of eternal night might 
brood below, I would not permit myself to think. 

Later, clawing my way along a badly heaped section of the corridor, I 
reached a place where the roof had wholly caved in. The debris rose like a 
mountain, and I climbed up over it, passing through a vast, empty space 
where my torchlight could reveal neither walls nor vaulting. This, I 
reflected, must be the cellar of the house of the metal-purveyors, fronting 
on the third square not far from the archives. What had happened to it I 
could not conjecture. 

I found the corridor again beyond the mountain of detritus and stone, but 
after a short distance encountered a wholly choked place where the fallen 
vaulting almost touched the perilously sagging ceiling. How I managed to 
wrench and tear aside enough blocks to afford a passage, and how I dared 
disturb the tightly packed fragments when the least shift of equilibrium 
might have brought down all the tons of superincumbent masonry to crush 
me to nothingness, I do not know. 

It was sheer madness that impelled and guided me-if, indeed, my whole 
underground adventure was not-as I hope-a hellish delusion or phase of 
dreaming. But I did make-or dream that I made-a passage that I could 



Chapter 7 66 

squirai through. As I wiggled over the mound of debris— my torch, switched 
continuously on, thrust deeply in my mouth— I felt myself torn by the 
fantastic stalactites of the jagged floor above me. 

I was now close to the great underground archival structure which seemed 
to form my goal. Sliding and clambering down the farther side of the 
barrier, and picking my way along the remaining stretch of corridor with 
hand-held, intermittently flashing torch, I came at last to a low, circular 
crypt with arches— still in a marvelous state of preservation— opening off on 
every side. 

The walls, or such parts of them as lay within reach of my torchlight, were 
densely hieroglyphed and chiselled with typical curvilinear symbols— some 
added since the period of my dreams. 

This, I realised, was my fated destination, and I turned at once through a 
familiar archway on my left. That I could find a clear passage up and down 
the incline to all the surviving levels, I had, oddly, little doubt. This vast, 
earth-protected pile, housing the annals of all the solar system, had been 
built with supernal skill and strength to last as long as that system itself. 

Blocks of stupendous size, poised with mathematical genius and bound 
with cements of incredible toughness, had combined to form a mass as firm 
as the planet's rocky core. Here, after ages more prodigious than I could 
sanely grasp, its buried bulk stood in all its essential contours, the vast, 
dust-drifted floors scarce sprinkled with the litter elsewhere so dominant. 

The relatively easy walking from this point onward went curiously to my 
head. All the frantic eagerness hitherto frustrated by obstacles now took 
itself out in a kind of febrile speed, and I literally raced along the 
low -roofed, monstrously well-remembered aisles beyond the archway. 

I was past being astonished by the familiarity of what I saw. On every hand 
the great hieroglyphed metal shelf-doors loomed monstrously; some yet in 
place, others sprung open, and still others bent and buckled under bygone 
geological stresses not quite strong enough to shatter the titan masonry. 



Chapter 7 67 

Here and there a dust-covered heap beneath a gaping, empty shelf seemed 
to indicate where cases had been shaken down by earth tremors. On 
occasional pillars were great symbols or letters proclaiming classes and 
subclasses of volumes. 

Once I paused before an open vault where I saw some of the accustomed 
metal cases still in position amidst the omnipresent gritty dust. Reaching 
up, I dislodged one of the thinner specimens with some difficulty, and 
rested it on the floor for inspection. It was titled in the prevailing 
curvilinear hieroglyphs, though something in the arrangement of the 
characters seemed subtly unusual. 

The odd mechanism of the hooked fastener was perfectly well known to 
me, and I snapped up the still rustless and workable lid and drew out the 
book within. The latter, as expected, was some twenty by fifteen inches in 
area, and two inches thick; the thin metal covers opening at the top. 

Its tough cellulose pages seemed unaffected by the myriad cycles of time 
they had lived through, and I studied the queerly pigmented, brush-drawn 
letters of the text- symbols unlike either the usual curved hieroglyphs or any 
alphabet known to human scholarship-with a haunting, half-aroused 
memory. 

It came to me that this was the language used by a captive mind I had 
known slightly in my dreams— a mind from a large asteroid on which had 
survived much of the archaic life and lore of the primal planet whereof it 
formed a fragment. At the same time I recalled that this level of the 
archives was devoted to volumes dealing with the non-terrestrial planets. 

As I ceased poring over this incredible document I saw that the light of my 
torch was beginning to fail, hence quickly inserted the extra battery I 
always had with me. Then, armed with the stronger radiance, I resumed my 
feverish racing through unending tangles of aisles and 
corridors-recognising now and then some familiar shelf, and vaguely 
annoyed by the acoustic conditions which made my footfalls echo 
incongruously in these catacombs. 



Chapter 7 68 

The very prints of my shoes behind me in the millennially untrodden dust 
made me shudder. Never before, if my mad dreams held anything of truth, 
had human feet pressed upon those immemorial pavements. 

Of the particular goal of my insane racing, my conscious mind held no hint. 
There was, however, some force of evil potency pulling at my dazed will 
and buried recollection, so that I vaguely felt I was not running at random. 

I came to a downward incline and followed it to profounder depths. Floors 
flashed by me as I raced, but I did not pause to explore them. In my 
whirling brain there had begun to beat a certain rhythm which set my right 
hand twitching in unison. I wanted to unlock something, and felt that I 
knew all the intricate twists and pressures needed to do it. It would be like a 
modem safe with a combination lock. 

Dream or not, I had once known and still knew. How any dream-or scrap 
of unconsciously absorbed legend-could have taught me a detail so minute, 
so intricate, and so complex, I did not attempt to explain to myself. I was 
beyond all coherent thought. For was not this whole experience-this 
shocking familiarity with a set of unknown ruins, and this monstrously 
exact identity of everything before me with what only dreams and scraps of 
myth could have suggested-a horror beyond all reason? 

Probably it was my basic conviction then— as it is now during my saner 
moments-that I was not awake at all, and that the entire buried city was a 
fragment of febrile hallucination. 

Eventually, I reached the lowest level and struck off to the right of the 
incline. For some shadowy reason I tried to soften my steps, even though I 
lost speed thereby. There was a space I was afraid to cross on this last, 
deeply buried floor. 

As I drew near it I recalled what thing in that space I feared. It was merely 
one of the metal-barred and closely guarded trap-doors. There would be no 
guards now, and on that account I trembled and tiptoed as I had done in 
passing through that black basalt vault where a similar trap-door had 



Chapter 7 69 

yawned. 

I felt a current of cool, damp air as I had felt there, and wished that my 
course led in another direction. Why I had to take the particular course I 
was taking, I did not know. 

When I came to the space I saw that the trap-door yawned widely open. 
Ahead, the shelves began again, and I glimpsed on the floor before one of 
them a heap very thinly covered with dust, where a number of cases had 
recently fallen. At the same moment a fresh wave of panic clutched me, 
though for some time I could not discover why. 

Heaps of fallen cases were not uncommon, for all through the aeons this 
lightless labyrinth had been racked by the heavings of earth and had echoed 
at intervals of the deafening clatter of toppling objects. It was only when I 
was nearly across the space that I realized why I shook so violently. 

Not the heap, but something about the dust of the level floor was troubling 
me. In the light of my torch it seemed as if that dust were not as even as it 
ought to be— there were places where it looked thinner, as if it had been 
disturbed not many months before. I could not be sure, for even the 
apparently thinner places were dusty enough; yet a certain suspicion of 
regularity in the fancied unevenness was highly disquieting. 

When I brought the torchlight close to one of the queer places I did not like 
what I saw— for the illusion of regularity became very great. It was as if 
there were regular lines of composite impressions— impressions that went in 
threes, each slightly over a foot square, and consisting of five nearly 
circular three-inch prints, one in advance of the other four. 

These possible lines of foot-square impressions appeared to lead in two 
directions, as if something had gone somewhere and returned. They were, 
of course, very faint, and may have been illusions or accidents; but there 
was an element of dim, fumbling terror about the way I thought they ran. 
For at one end of them was the heap of cases which must have clattered 
down not long before, while at the other end was the ominous trap-door 



Chapter 7 70 

with the cool, damp wind, yawning unguarded down to abysses past 
imagination. 



Chapter 8 71 

Chapter 8 

That my strange sense of compulsion was deep and overwhelming is shewn 
by its conquest of my fear. No rational motive could have drawn me on 
after that hideous suspicion of prints and the creeping dream-memories it 
excited. Yet my right hand, even as it shook with fright, still twitched 
rhythmically in its eagerness to turn a lock it hoped to find. Before I knew 
it I was past the heap of lately fallen cases and running on tiptoe through 
aisles of utterly unbroken dust toward a point which I seemed to know 
morbidly, horribly well. 

My mind was asking itself questions whose origin and relevancy I was only 
beginning to guess. Would the shelf be reachable by a human body? Could 
my human hand master all the aeon-remembered motions of the lock? 
Would the lock be undamaged and workable? And what would I do-what 
dare I do with what-as I now commenced to realise-I both hoped and 
feared to find? Would it prove the awesome, brain-shattering truth of 
something past normal conception, or shew only that I was dreaming? 

The next I knew I had ceased my tiptoed racing and was standing still, 
staring at a row of maddeningly familiar hieroglyphed shelves. They were 
in a state of almost perfect preservation, and only three of the doors in this 
vicinity had sprung open. 

My feelings toward these shelves cannot be described— so utter and 
insistent was the sense of old acquaintance. I was looking high up at a row 
near the top and wholly out of my reach, and wondering how I could climb 
to best advantage. An open door four rows from the bottom would help, 
and the locks of the closed doors formed possible holds for hands and feet. 
I would grip the torch between my teeth, as I had in other places where 
both hands were needed. Above all I must make no noise. 

How to get down what I wished to remove would be difficult, but I could 
probably hook its movable fastener in my coat collar and carry it like a 
knapsack. Again I wondered whether the lock would be undamaged. That I 
could repeat each familiar motion I had not the least doubt. But I hoped the 



Chapter 8 72 

thing would not scrape or creak— and that my hand could work it properly. 

Even as I thought these things I had taken the torch in my mouth and begun 
to climb. The projecting locks were poor supports; but, as I had expected, 
the opened shelf helped greatly. I used both the swinging door and the edge 
of the aperture itself in my ascent, and managed to avoid any loud creaking. 

Balanced on the upper edge of the door, and leaning far to my right, I could 
just reach the lock I sought. My fingers, half numb from climbing, were 
very clumsy at first; but I soon saw that they were anatomically adequate. 
And the memory-rhythm was strong in them. 

Out of unknown gulfs of time the intricate, secret motions had somehow 
reached my brain correctly in every detail— for after less than five minutes 
of trying there came a click whose familiarity was all the more startling 
because I had not consciously anticipated it. In another instant the metal 
door was slowly swinging open with only the faintest grating sound. 

Dazedly I looked over the row of greyish case ends thus exposed, and felt a 
tremendous surge of some wholly inexplicable emotion. Just within reach 
of my right hand was a case whose curving hieroglyphs made me shake 
with a pang infinitely more complex than one of mere fright. Still shaking, I 
managed to dislodge it amidst a shower of gritty flakes, and ease it over 
toward myself without any violent noise. 

Like the other case I had handled, it was slightly more than twenty by 
fifteen inches in size, with curved mathematical designs in low relief. In 
thickness it just exceeded three inches. 

Crudely wedging it between myself and the surface I was climbing, I 
fumbled with the fastener and finally got the hook free. Lifting the cover, I 
shifted the heavy object to my back, and let the hook catch hold of my 
collar. Hands now free, I awkwardly clambered down to the dusty floor, 
and prepared to inspect my prize. 



Chapter 8 73 

Kneeling in the gritty dust, I swung the case around and rested it in front of 
me. My hands shook, and I dreaded to draw out the book within almost as 
much as I longed-and felt compelled— to do so. It had very gradually 
become clear to me what I ought to find, and this realisation nearly 
paralysed my faculties. 

If the thing were there-and if I were not dreaining— the implications would 
be quite beyond the power of the human spirit to bear. What tormented me 
most was my momentary inability to feel that my surroundings were a 
dream. The sense of reality was hideous— and again becomes so as I recall 
the scene. 

At length I tremblingly pulled the book from its container and stared 
fascinatedly at the well-known hieroglyphs on the cover. It seemed to be in 
prime condition, and the curvilinear letters of the title held me in almost as 
hypnotised a state as if I could read them. Indeed, I cannot swear that I did 
not actually read them in some transient and terrible access of abnormal 
memory. 

I do not know how long it was before I dared to lift that thin metal cover. I 
temporized and made excuses to myself. I took the torch from my mouth 
and shut it off to save the battery. Then, in the dark, I collected my courage 
finally lifting the cover without turning on the light. Last of all, I did indeed 
flash the torch upon the exposed page-steeling myself in advance to 
suppress any sound no matter what I should find. 

I looked for an instant, then collapsed. Clenching my teeth, however, I kept 
silent. I sank wholly to the floor and put a hand to my forehead amidst the 
engulfing blackness. What I dreaded and expected was there. Either I was 
dreaming, or time and space had become a mockery. 

I must be dreaming— but I would test the horror by carrying this thing back 
and shewing it to my son if it were indeed a reality. My head swam 
frightfully, even though there were no visible objects in the unbroken 
gloom to swirl about me. Ideas and images of the starkest terror— excited by 
vistas which my glimpse had opened up-began to throng in upon me and 



Chapter 8 74 

cloud my senses. 

I thought of those possible prints in the dust, and trembled at the sound of 
my own breathing as I did so. Once again I flashed on the light and looked 
at the page as a serpent's victim may look at his destroyer's eyes and fangs. 

Then, with clumsy fingers, in the dark, I closed the book, put it in its 
container, and snapped the lid and the curious, hooked fastener. This was 
what I must carry back to the outer world if it truly existed— if the whole 
abyss truly existed-if I, and the world itself, truly existed. 

Just when I tottered to my feet and commenced my return I cannot be 
certain. It comes to me oddly— as a measure of my sense of separation from 
the normal world-that I did not even once look at my watch during those 
hideous hours nderground. 

Torch in hand, and with the ominous case under one arm, I eventually 
found myself tiptoeing in a kind of silent panic past the draught-giving 
abyss and those lurking suggestions of prints. I lessened my precautions as 
I climbed up the endless inclines, but could not shake off a shadow of 
apprehension which I had not felt on the downward journey. 

I dreaded having to repass through the black basalt crypt that was older 
than the city itself, where cold draughts welled up from unguarded depths. I 
thought of that which the Great Race had feared, and of what might still be 
lurking-be it ever so weak and dying— down there. I thought of those 
five-circle prints and of what my dreams had told me of such prints— and of 
strange winds and whistling noises associated with them. And I thought of 
the tales of the modem blackfellows, wherein the horror of great winds and 
nameless subterrene ruins was dwelt upon. 

I knew from a carven wall symbol the right floor to enter, and came at last 
after passing that other book I had examined— to the great circular space 
with the branching archways. On my right, and at once recognisable, was 
the arch through which I had arrived. This I now entered, conscious that the 
rest of my course would be harder because of the tumbled state of the 



Chapter 8 75 

masonry outside the archive building. My new metal-eased burden weighed 
upon me, and I found it harder and harder to be quiet as I stumbled among 
debris and fragments of every sort. 

Then I came to the ceiling-high mound of debris through which I had 
wrenched a scanty passage. My dread at wriggling through again was 
infinite, for my first passage had made some noise, and I now-after seeing 
those possible prints-dreaded sound above all things. The case, too, 
doubled the problem of traversing the narrow crevice. 

But I clambered up the barrier as best I could, and pushed the case through 
the aperture ahead of me. Then, torch in mouth, I scrambled through 
myself— my back torn as before by stalactites. 

As I tried to grasp the case again, it fell some distance ahead of me down 
the slope of the debris, making a disturbing clatter and arousing echoes 
which sent me into a cold perspiration. I lunged for it at once, and regained 
it without further noise— but a moment afterward the slipping of blocks 
under my feet raised a sudden and unprecedented din. 

The din was my undoing. For, falsely or not, I thought I heard it answered 
in a terrible way from spaces far behind me. I thought I heard a shrill, 
whistling sound, like nothing else on earth, and beyond any adequate verbal 
description. If so, what followed has a grim irony— since, save for the panic 
of this thing, the second thing might never have happened. 

As it was, my frenzy was absolute and unrelieved. Taking my torch in my 
hand and clutching feebly at the case, I leaped and bounded wildly ahead 
with no idea in my brain beyond a mad desire to race out of these 
nightmare ruins to the waking world of desert and moonlight which lay so 
far above. 

I hardly knew it when I reached the mountain of debris which towered into 
the vast blackness beyond the caved-in roof, and bruised and cut myself 
repeatedly in scrambling up its steep slope of jagged blocks and fragments. 



Chapter 8 76 

Then came the great disaster. Just as I blindly crossed the summit, 
unprepared for the sudden dip ahead, my feet slipped utterly and I found 
myself involved in a mangling avalanche of sliding masonry whose 
cannon-loud uproar split the black cavern air in a deafening series of 
earth-shaking reverberations. 

I have no recollection of emerging from this chaos, but a momentary 
fragment of consciousness shows me as plunging and tripping and 
scrambling along the corridor amidst the clangour-case and torch still with 
me. 

Then, just as I approached that primal basalt crypt I had so dreaded, utter 
madness came. For as the echoes of the avalanche died down, there became 
audible a repetition of that frightful alien whistling I thought I had heard 
before. This time there was no doubt about it— and what was worse, it came 
from a point not behind but ahead of me. 

Probably I shrieked aloud then. I have a dim picture of myself as flying 
through the hellish basalt vault of the elder things, and hearing that 
damnable alien sound piping up from the open, unguarded door of limitless 
nether blacknesses. There was a wind, too— not merely a cool, damp 
draught, but a violent, purposeful blast belching savagely and frigidly from 
that abominable gulf whence the obscene whistling came. 

There are memories of leaping and lurching over obstacles of every sort, 
with that torrent of wind and shrieking sound growing moment by moment, 
and seeming to curl and twist purposefully around me as it struck out 
wickedly from the spaces behind and beneath. 

Though in my rear, that wind had the odd effect of hindering instead of 
aiding my progress; as if it acted like a noose or lasso thrown around me. 
Heedless of the noise I made, I clattered over a great barrier of blocks and 
was again in the structure that led to the surface. 

I recall glimpsing the archway to the room of machines and almost crying 
out as I saw the incline leading down to where one of those blasphemous 



Chapter 8 77 

trap-doors must be yawning two levels below. But instead of crying out I 
muttered over and over to myself that this was all a dream from which I 
must soon awake. Perhaps I was in camp— perhaps I was at home in 
Arkham. As these hopes bolstered up my sanity I began to mount the 
incline to the higher level. 

I knew, of course, that I had the four- foot cleft to re-cross, yet was too 
racked by other fears to realise the full horror until I came almost upon it. 
On my descent, the leap across had been easy-but could I clear the gap as 
readily when going uphill, and hampered by fright, exhaustion, the weight 
of the metal case, and the anomalous backward tug of that daemon wind? I 
thought of these things at the last moment, and thought also of the nameless 
entities which might be lurking in the black abysses below the chasm. 

My wavering torch was growing feeble, but I could tell by some obscure 
memory when I neared the cleft. The chill blasts of wind and the nauseous 
whistling shrieks behind me were for the moment like a merciful opiate, 
dulling my imagination to the horror of the yawning gulf ahead. And then I 
became aware of the added blasts and whistling in front of me-tides of 
abomination surging up through the cleft itself from depths unimagined and 
unimaginable. 

Now, indeed, the essence of pure nightmare was upon me. Sanity 
departed— and, ignoring everything except the animal impulse of flight, I 
merely struggled and plunged upward over the incline's debris as if no gulf 
had existed. Then I saw the chasm's edge, leaped frenziedly with every 
ounce of strength I possessed, and was instantly engulfed in a 
pandaemoniae vortex of loathsome sound and utter, materially tangible 
blackness. 

This is the end of my experience, so far as I can recall. Any further 
impressions belong wholly to the domain of phantasmagoria delirium. 
Dream, madness, and memory merged wildly together in a series of 
fantastic, fragmentary delusions which can have no relation to anything 
real. 



Chapter 8 78 

There was a hideous fall through incalculable leagues of viscous, sentient 
darkness, and a babel of noises utterly alien to all that we know of the earth 
and its organic life. Dormant, rudimentary senses seemed to start into 
vitality within me, telling of pits and voids peopled by floating horrors and 
leading to sunless crags and oceans and teeming cities of windowless, 
basalt towers upon which no light ever shone. 

Secrets of the primal planet and its immemorial aeons flashed through my 
brain without the aid of sight or sound, and there were known to me things 
which not even the wildest of my former dreams had ever suggested. And 
all the while cold fingers of damp vapor clutched and picked at me, and that 
eldritch, damnable whistling shrieked fiendishly above all the alternations 
of babel and silence in the whirlpools of darkness around. 

Afterward there were visions of the Cyclopean city of my dreams— not in 
ruins, but just as I had dreamed of it. I was in my conical, non-human body 
again, and mingled with crowds of the Great Race and the captive minds 
who carried books up and down the lofty corridors and vast inclines. 

Then, superimposed upon these pictures, were frightful, momentary flashes 
of a non-vistial consciousness involving desperate struggles, a writhing free 
from clutching tentacles of whistling wind, an insane, bat-like flight 
through half-solid air, a feverish burrowing through the cyclone-whipped 
dark, and a wild stumbling and scrambling over fallen masonry. 

Once there was a curious, intrusive flash of half sight— a faint, diffuse 
suspicion of bluish radiance far overhead. Then there came a dream of 
wind-pursued climbing and crawling-of wriggling into a blaze of sardonic 
moonlight through a jumble of debris which slid and collapsed after me 
amidst a morbid hurricane. It was the evil, monotonous beating of that 
maddening moonlight which at last told me of the return of what I had once 
known as the objective, waking world. 

I was clawing prone through the sands of the Australian desert, and around 
me shrieked such a tumult of wind as I had never before known on our 
planet's surface. My clothing was in rags, and my whole body was a mass 



Chapter 8 79 

of bruises and scratches. 

Full consciousness returned very slowly, and at no time could I tell just 
where delirious dream left off and true memory began. There had seemed 
to be a mound of titan blocks, an abyss beneath it, a monstrous revelation 
from the past, and a nightmare horror at the end— but how much of this was 
real? 

My flashlight was gone, and likewise any metal case I may have 
discovered. Had there been such a case— or any abyss— or any mound? 
Raising my head, I looked behind me, and saw only the sterile, undulant 
sands of the desert. 

The daemon wind died down, and the bloated, fungoid moon sank 
reddeningly in the west. I lurched to my feet and began to stagger 
southwestward toward the camp. What in truth had happened to me? Had I 
merely collapsed in the desert and dragged a dream-racked body over miles 
of sand and buried blocks? If not, how could I bear to live any longer? 

For, in this new doubt, all my faith in the myth-bom unreality of my visions 
dissolved once more into the hellish older doubting. If that abyss was real, 
then the Great Race was real-and its blasphemous reachings and seizures 
in the cosmos-wide vortex of time were no myths or nightmares, but a 
terrible, soul-shattering actuality. 

Had I, in full, hideous fact, been drawn back to a pre-human world of a 
hundred and fifty million years ago in those dark, baffling days of the 
amnesia? Had my present body been the vehicle of a frightful alien 
consciousness from palaeogean gulfs of time? 

Had I, as the captive mind of those shambling horrors, indeed known that 
accursed city of stone in its primordial heyday, and wriggled down those 
familiar corridors in the loathsome shape of my captor? Were those 
tormenting dreams of more than twenty years the offspring of stark, 
monstrous memories? 



Chapter 8 80 

Had I once veritably talked with minds from reachless comers of time and 
space, learned the universe's secrets, past and to come, and written the 
annals of my own world for the metal cases of those titan archives? And 
were those others-those shocking elder things of the mad winds and 
daemon pipings-in truth a lingering, lurking menace, waiting and slowly 
weakening in black abysses while varied shapes of life drag out their 
multimillennial courses on the planet's age-racked surface? 

I do not know. If that abyss and what I held were real, there is no hope. 
Then, all too truly, there lies upon this world of man a mocking and 
incredible shadow out of time. But, mercifully, there is no proof that these 
things are other than fresh phases of my myth-bom dreams. I did not bring 
back the metal case that would have been a proof, and so far those 
subterrene corridors have not been found. 

If the laws of the universe are kind, they will never be found. But I must 
tell my son what I saw or thought I saw, and let him use his judgment as a 
psychologist in gauging the reality of my experience, and communicating 
this account to others. 

I have said that the awful truth behind my tortured years of dreaming 
hinges absolutely upon the actuality of what I thought I saw in those 
Cyclopean, buried ruins. It has been hard for me, literally, to set down that 
crucial revelation, though no reader can have failed to guess it. Of course, it 
lay in that book within the metal case-the case which I pried out of its lair 
amidst the dust of a million centuries. 

No eye had seen, no hand had touched that book since the advent of man to 
this planet. And yet, when I flashed my torch upon it in that frightful abyss, 

1 saw that the queerly pigmented letters on the brittle, aeon-browned 
cellulose pages were not indeed any nameless hieroglyphs of earth's youth. 
They were, instead, the letters of our familiar alphabet, spelling out the 
words of the English language in my own handwriting. 

2 RTEXTR*ch 



Chapter 8 81 

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